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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. HopWallop

    HopWallop New Member

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    Oct 29, 2008
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    Loc:
    S.E. PA
    I have had 3 medium splits going for 3 hours now. They are glowing bright and there no longer is too much flame jumping off of them. My thermomter has been at 550 for the last 2 1/2 hours. It is hard wood and one of them was a round. I would like to try to get the most out of the wood I have. If anyone has found an effective way of burning efficiently, please throw it out there.

    My stove shop came in yesterday and they think the one fan is bad. They took it with them and will be back to replace it. I feel like I am only getting half of what the stove has to offer. I am looking forward to getting to 100%.

    I am with woodsy. Keep it rolling.

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  2. labrador

    labrador Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2008
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    196
    Loc:
    upstate New York
    Hopwallop, Two fans make all the difference, hope you get yours fixed soon. The temperature here in Schoharie county has not been above 30 for the past several days the morning lows are in the teens and I have had the 550 running 24/7. Two splits and one 6"round keep the fire burning till about 3-4 am and there are more than enough coals to feed it so there is a good fire at 6am. I also get buildup on the corners of the glass door, possibly because I burn 16-18" wood. I just cleaned out the ashes from burning the stove since Tuesday night but after adding no wood since 2 this afternoon there were still plenty of coals at 9 pm. the 550 is super heater. Glad I decided to buy this unit. Keep the thread going.
  3. FrankMA

    FrankMA Member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    190
    Loc:
    Merrimack Valley - Northeastern MA
    Been in the 20's here all week and this has been my first opportunity to burn 24 hours a day for the past three days. WOW! I had to throttle the 550 back a bit because my house was too warm (70ish) and that's with the outside temp's in the mid 20's. I did not have a big burn going either, just a couple of good size splits at any given time. I did load it up a bit more at night before bed and awoke to a good bed of coals. The whole house is happy with this purchase, even the dog.

    I think this is going to be a very warm winter!
  4. Custerstove

    Custerstove Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2008
    Messages:
    50
    Loc:
    Central PA
    Lows in the 20's are resulting in lots of wood burning here too. Recently, I was burning the biggest logs I could fit in the rockland stove (2-3 large splits fill it). It takes a good coal bed and surface temperatures of 300 F or above to get them started. Eight hours later I have just enough coals to start a fire with kindling - no matches or paper needed. When loading the stove for over night burn I rake the coals to the front of the stove - especially the front corners, clearing out a space in the back of the stove. I then load the largest split in the very back. Then I fill the stove with more wood. I've noticed that the glass only gets dirty if some coals or wood come in contact with the glass. Therefore you want to load the wood so that nothing will fall against the glass when you're not looking.

    Only problem with large splits is that they tend to produce huge amounts of coals - sometimes the entire stove is full of hot coals. And that's fine for an overnight burn of 7-8 hours. But to really get the stove heated up I tend to use one large split and several medium splits (about 3 inch diameter). Sometimes I use medium sized splits exclusively. These smaller logs keep the flames dancing around without excessive coals and really get the temperature kicking.

    Another trick I just started today is using a lamp timer to get better control of the blower. Basically, I keep the blower on high using the manual stove setting, but I set the timer to turn the blower off at 4am - that way the coals stay hotter - until I wake up and start another fire. Most hardware stores sell digital lamp timers that can be set up on different schedules through out the week.
  5. labrador

    labrador Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2008
    Messages:
    196
    Loc:
    upstate New York
    Custer; Thanks for the great idea of putting a timer on the fan. I have been running it 24/7 on manual. I have several sitting around the house and never thought of it. Does anyone run their 550 on the automatic setting? I have always felt that while the auto is warming up I am losing that much heat I can be putting into the house. This mornings temp at 7am was 18 and still colder tonight. Btw are you a follower of George Armstrong?
  6. soxfan13

    soxfan13 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2007
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    88
    Loc:
    eastern MA
    I use the manual setting for the fan usually. I think it takes to long for the fan to start on auto setting. I am getting heat much quicker with the fan on manual. I will put it to auto when I go to bed. Good idea on the timer. I might have to try that.
  7. bbeals

    bbeals Member

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    Sep 25, 2008
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    Loc:
    South East, NH
    Soxfan, I am running the same way. In the morning after I get the coals roaring into a fire again, I switch the fan to manual, drop the kids at school and flick it back to auto when I get home. We leave it on auto through the night and occasionally we get lucky and there is enough heat coming off the unit at 6:00 AM that fans are still cranking out heat. That has only happened once and I could not have put another splinter of wood in the firebox. ;_)
  8. gibson

    gibson New Member

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    663
    Loc:
    Lincoln, RI
    I will not go into a long song and dance as to why it has taken so long, but I hope to be burning a break-in fire by 2pm tomorrow. Great thread.
  9. gibson

    gibson New Member

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    Apr 29, 2008
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    663
    Loc:
    Lincoln, RI
    It is in! After failing the first time at a self install and getting blown off by numerous chimney sweeps, we got it done today on the second try. We were not able to get the liner down the first time, but with a bit of ovalizing today, it went down pretty easily. Had to cut out a bit of the damper and attaching the cast iron surround was a PITA. Messing around with the surround and block off plate was the biggest hang up. Break in fire was burning at 5:00 pm. Good draft, pretty flames, a little bit smoky and smelly from the paint fumes, but not bad. It was a very hard days work today, but worth it considering that I saved between $500-800 on installation. Loved that first fire! Here is the finished product...

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  10. labrador

    labrador Member

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    Loc:
    upstate New York
    Carl; Congratulations on the install , looks great. Plus the $ savings means more firewood. After the first break in fires enjoy to 550 and its heat output. Question- does your outside surround get too hot to touch after you have been burning for awhile? Labrador
  11. gibson

    gibson New Member

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    Loc:
    Lincoln, RI
    I will let you know once I get the stove going all out. I am hoping that it does get hot. The cast iron will retain the heat a little longer and radiate it out into the room.
  12. woodheat

    woodheat New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2008
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    52
    Loc:
    Ct.
    My surround gets around 115-125 degrees reading with an ir thermometer. I do not have a block off plate at this point, but am planning on putting one in. I will be interested to see if the block off plate makes the surround get hotter than it does now.
  13. 88steve

    88steve New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
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    Loc:
    li ,ny
    hi all ive had the 550 for 4 days have done the 4 break -in fires , im also having a hard time keeping the fire going unless i have the door opened a crack. can anyone please explain the correct way to get this stove lit? i have no clue as what to do , the manual was not very helpfull, i can have a roaring fire with the door open when i shut the door the fire will die in about a minute. all with the lever in full open mode, seasoned wood. any help appreciated, thanks.
  14. gibson

    gibson New Member

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    Lincoln, RI
    Use plenty of newspaper and dry kindling and get it roaring real good with the door cracked. Once you've got a good hot bed of coals, however you get there, you should be good to go. If it goes out with a hot bed of coals then it sounds like a draft issue.
  15. bbeals

    bbeals Member

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    144
    Loc:
    South East, NH
    Do you have a full stainless steel liner? Also, make sure you are not trying to set the world on fire. Start with kindling and small "dry" splits, let the fire establish well before adding to it. If you add before you come up to temp you could have problems. Once you get the bed of coals, look out, this thing will amaze you. It might seem tricky at first, but once you get a couple of fires going, you will be well on your way and should be amazed at how easy it is to build and maintain fires your 550. I rarely crack the door open on mine, I put some paper (occasionally a fire starter) and small splits, open the vent (full right), light it, shut the door, open a beer and enjoy the fire. :coolsmile:
  16. firebug360

    firebug360 Member

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    Nov 11, 2008
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    12
    Loc:
    Western Connecticut
    Steve - I have the same problem. I've been working with the folks on this forum and also my dealer to try to figure it out. Here's a few things I have done in my troubleshooting efforts:

    - Waited for the temperature to outside to get COLD. I had the unit installed in Sept when the temp was still in the 50-60's. With the temps below 30 now, a temp issue should be ruled out.
    - Test with DRY wood. The folks in this forum recommended I try some cut up 2x4. After letting the unit run for 3 days to heat up the chimney, I built up a 2in layer of hot red embers, then layed the 2x4 chunks on top. With the door cracked open, I let the wood char up with a nice flame, then shut the door with air full open. After about 1 minute, the flames go out. Wood dryness shouldn't be the issue as far as I can tell.
    - Increase air pressure inside by cracking open a window (recommended by the dealer). Didn't work.
    - Placed Condar ChimGard thermometer on the left/front of the unit, opposite the air control lever. The wood stove place I bought it from said the temp should show about half what it actually is inside. I've been keeping it running between 200 and 300, which should translate to 400-600. I can't get it any higher than that, possibly because I can only keep it running with the door cracked, allowing too much heat up the chimney.

    I'm still in the same position where it needs the door cracked to keep a flame. My dealer hasn't come out yet to take a look, but he believes the issues is due to two possibilities: 1. the chimney is too short and/or 2. not enough insulation in my ceiling. I have a 1 story 1800sqft ranch with between 2 and 6 inches of insulation in the attic depending on where you measure. Does anyone have any experience with this? They believe lack of insulation will result in lower air pressure in the house, which will affect draft. Regarding the chimney height, from the bottom brick on the chimney to the top brick, it's about 14ft. Then I have the cap on top elevated above maybe another foot. The fireplace sits higher than the bottom bricks, so the full height may be 13 feet or so (it looks alot higher when you look at it as opposed to measuring). Does anyone have any thoughts on this as well?

    Thanks everyone! Steve - let us know how you are making out.
  17. FrankMA

    FrankMA Member

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    Jul 18, 2008
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    190
    Loc:
    Merrimack Valley - Northeastern MA
    CTJotul550: I'd definately get the dealer out to your house and get some answers, especially if it was professionally installed by them. Have them do everything that they suggest and see how they make out. It could be an installation problem, some sort of blockage in the damper or even a defective component within the insert. I'm in the same boat as The BI Guy - small dry splits and kindling (I use a couple of firestarters), establish a bed of coals and your off and running.

    Hope everything works out well for you, I'm sure that it will.
  18. bbeals

    bbeals Member

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    Sep 25, 2008
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    144
    Loc:
    South East, NH
    Is is safe to assume that you have a full SS liner? Have you pulled your baffles and looked up or down the stack to make sure you have a clear unobstructed view? Could be that they over elongated the pipe where it goes through your damper. Just thinking out loud, as I am stumped. Can't think of an easier stove to burn. Good luck, one day soon you will be enjoying the fire.
  19. soxfan13

    soxfan13 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2007
    Messages:
    88
    Loc:
    eastern MA
    CT,

    You said that your chimney height was about 13 feet. The minimum requirement in the manual is a chimney height of 15 feet. I wonder if you need an extension to your chimney of some sort. I am no expert so I don't know what kind of difference 2 feet can make but maybe it is a big deal.
  20. HopWallop

    HopWallop New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2008
    Messages:
    28
    Loc:
    S.E. PA
    CT - I had similar problems getting my fire going. I started using fire starters and they seem to give it the strong consistent push it needs to get things moving up the chimney. My chimney is about 25 ft. and I think it may have played a part in my problem. The other thing that seems to help is to leave the door shut tight once I light it. Leaving the door cracked is great for giving things a jolt after adding a few logs to a established fire, but seems to throw off the air flow when I am starting up a cold stove. I use a few pieces of newspaper to get the firestarter going and I have a small split in the front and in the back with one on top. It works for me. Good luck!
  21. firebug360

    firebug360 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2008
    Messages:
    12
    Loc:
    Western Connecticut
    Thanks for the input and ideas! I spoke with the dealer today, and he is pretty insistent that there is nothing wrong with the unit or the installation. Considering the unit has never operated as advertised with the door closed, I don't think anyone can really say for sure the unit and installation is 100% without physically double checking and then actually get it to operate correctly. He's now doing some research and is going to get back to me.

    BI Guy - I believe it is a full SS liner. My itemized receipt included a 25 foot liner, which only partially needed to be used since my chimney is not that high. I'll have to double check again and ask him. I prefer not opening or taking anything apart to check things on my own, since it may void the product and/or any installation warranty. The dealer should really check it out.

    Soxfan - I noticed the minimum requirement as well. If this turns out to be the problem, this really should have been pointed out to me before the installation during the pre-install assessment. Wouldn't you agree? I'd like them to test this out if they believe it is the problem. Anyone have any experience with testing or installing a chimney extension with this unit? What's involved?

    Regarding the insulation above our ceiling - does anyone have any thoughts on that? I've been googling around and haven't been able to find any information on how ceiling insulation in an attic can affect chimney draft. I've been looking around to see if there is anything where air will be escaping before it gets to the fireplace, but I'm not really seeing anything yet. Maybe I can try to use a barometer to read atmospheric pressure within the house?
  22. 88steve

    88steve New Member

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    Oct 25, 2008
    Messages:
    21
    Loc:
    li ,ny
    hey ct jotul i think i might also have a chimney problem mine is about 12 ft high, also the left side fan stopped working not a thermocoupler problem, it siezed up. hotwallop also mentioned the same side on his going bad,so far the stove is ok, i ran it all day on sunday with outside temps 30 and windy and the stove did perform well before the fan crapped out, i hope these little kinks will work out i like the stove so far, will post pics when it is totally finished, also what does the secondary burn look like, when should i see one in action/, thanks to all who replied,teve.
  23. 88steve

    88steve New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    Messages:
    21
    Loc:
    li ,ny
    hey ct jotul i think i might also have a chimney problem mine is about 12 ft high, also the left side fan stopped working not a thermocoupler problem, it siezed up. hotwallop also mentioned the same side on his going bad,so far the stove is ok, i ran it all day on sunday with outside temps 30 and windy and the stove did perform well before the fan crapped out, i hope these little kinks will work out i like the stove so far, will post pics when it is totally finished, also what does the secondary burn look like, when should i see one in action/, thanks to all who replied,steve.
  24. jadm

    jadm New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2007
    Messages:
    918
    Loc:
    colorado
    Height of Chimney - Mine was about 12 ft. and worked fine with my last insert which was a lot smaller than the 550. I didn't want to take any chances when installing this last winter so I had my sweeps extend it with chimney tiles to 15 feet as per manual instructions. It was a very ugly set up. Saw the Extend-A-Flues that Craig (Webmaster) makes and bought one and had it installed and it is a beauty sooo if you do extend your chimney I highly recommend one of his to do the job.

    Don't let store blow you off which can sometimes happen after they have your money. Insist that they come out, or send a Jotul rep. your way, and demonstrate how to operate your insert. Having someone actually show you how to do something really can make a big difference.

    I know I have to keep the door cracked for awhile when starting up a new fire or when the temp. gets below 300*. Remember - your fire has to heat the chimney and then 550 pounds of steel and cast iron! As stated by someone else- outside temps. do make a difference in operation.

    The key to mine seems to be in monitoring the coal bed and waiting until it is good and hot. I also use firestarter squares and small kindling and pine split to small splits to heat it up before adding hard wood. I only add one piece at a time in the beginning making sure all has caught and stable. Once that happens I load up 2 more splits and begin the shut down process that can take up to 1/2 hour - all depending on how things are going.

    The tricky part for me remains in shutting down the air. Some days I can get lower than others. I know this all just takes practice and I am still new to this insert.

    There really isn't a good place on the face of this insert to put a magnetic therm. Many put theirs on the slot on top where the blower air exits. I use an IR therm. and when my insert is cruising it is usually at 600* or higher. On any of the front panels the temp. reads about 200* below that.

    Be patient with yourself. Be persistent with the store that sold you the insert and let us all know how things resolve themselves and then enjoy your well earned heat. :coolsmile:
  25. bbeals

    bbeals Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2008
    Messages:
    144
    Loc:
    South East, NH
    CTJotul, It's your call, but I would pull the secondary burner bars (stainless tubes at top of fire box) and pull the baffles so you can take a peek up the stack to see if they crimped your liner. This in no way should void your warranty and your Jotul manual has the user instructions for doing this, as it is a necessary step in cleaning. We have a 24.5 ft SS liner and it performs well. The fireplace before did not perform worth a crap and we kept getting smoke in the house. My gut tells me that a 13 ft lined chimney ought to give you all of the draft you need for that to perform well, however; it can depend on chimney height to house, location, tress, etc... If you are not burning now, I suggest you take a peek up the stack, if they screwed it up, it would be good to know for yourself before they show up instead of having them just tell you its installed right. I would like to think that your dealer is reputable, but then again, I would like to think that he could have taken an hour out of his day to stop by and deal with the issue by now. I am frustrated for you, but I am confident that you will get it figured out and working right.

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