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Jotul Castine... installed and burning!

Post in 'The Inglenook' started by amazer, Dec 22, 2005.

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  1. amazer

    amazer New Member

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    Well, after many weeks of vacillating between installing a pellet stove vs a wood stove, I finally bit the bullet and chose this Castine to put in our old-fashioned fireplace. We've been in this house (a small cape in NH) for 4 years now and have enjoyed many a blazing fire here. Trouble was, though the fire would warm the immediate area, it was a net heat loss for the house. The upstairs and other rooms would get mighty chilly.

    Since we put in this stove, the house has been much toastier. Over the past few weeks I stacked another cord (now I have about 1.75 cords) on the back porch and a bit in the garage. Buying seasoned wood this time of year is not such a great option ($295/cord), so in the spring I'll pick up a couple of green cords.

    Though stacking wood, and splitting the many logs that needed it, is a bit of a chore, I have no regrets. I just couldn't bring myself to get a pellet stove, which seemed to have the charm of a blow torch. The nice ambience of burning logs-- and the powerful heat it generates-- is worth the extra work to me (but ask me again in ten years!).

    During the installation, I was a bit concerned to see the installer squeeze the stainless liner through the 4-inch damper opening. It was evident that this reduced the pipe volume by at least 25%, but he said he did this all the time with no ill effects. It certainly was a less drastic approach than chiseling open the damper opening, as another stove guy told me was necessary a few years ago. As it happens, the stove still has a very powerful draft, so I can say for the record that ovalizing stainless liner through a 4-inch damper does indeed work OK. (We have a chimney that's 17 feet tall (from the damper to the top)-- the back of the chimney abuts with an unheated garage, so it's virtually an outside chimney).

    Anyway, here's a photo. I cleaned up the hearth as best as I could before the installation, using a wire brush and some brick-cleaning spray I picked up at a stove shop. I used a facemask (the kind generally used for sanding wood) and it was dark gray when I finished scraping off the creosote.

    Andy

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  2. Willhound

    Willhound Feeling the Heat

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    Wow! Now that is a vintage looking hearth. How old is the house?

    Willhound
  3. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    Poughkeepsie, NY
    That is sweet. I'll bet that brick gets nice and warm and keeps temps nice and even. It looks like it was made for that stove to sit there too.
  4. amazer

    amazer New Member

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    Thanks, guys. The house was built in 1986 and really isn't a reproduction. In fact, the family room that the fireplace is in is an ell off the main house and has a modest cathedral ceiling, which you certainly wouldn't find in an antique cape. The one indulgence that the couple who built this house did was the antique style fireplace. Because it's so shallow (the so-called Rumford design) it radiated heat back into the room pretty efficiently when we built fires, and after a few hours the bricks would get warm.

    The wood stove puts out a lot of heat, which rises of course. I always turn on the ceiling fan on low or medium, and can really feel the warm air get pushed back down into the room. With the wood stove, however, the bricks really don't seem to get so warm that they radiate noticeable heat back into the room, but that doesn't really matter, as the living room turns into a sauna if I'm not careful.
  5. carpniels

    carpniels Minister of Fire

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    Rome, NY, USA
    Hi amazer,

    beautiful stove and even more gorgeous installation. I love it.

    Enjoy the net heat gain you will have from this stove. Keep us informed of any strange things you encounter running that stove. I bought one too but am still waiting. Hope it works as well for me as for you. It will definitely NOT look as good as yours!!!

    Carpniels
  6. amazer

    amazer New Member

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    Carpniels,

    Thanks for the compliment. Here's something I learned about the Castine: it comes with two adapter plates (European and U.S.) that screw in the firebox just inside of the door. They cover a small cast iron bricklet, which slides across an air opening as you toggle the air flow adjustment rod on the front of the stove. The adapters differ in the way that they direct the airflow within the firebox: the US version directs most of the air at the door glass, helping it to keep clean. The European adapter directs the air mostly toward the wood that you're burning, helping it combust more readily.

    I tried the US adapeter for a few days, but had trouble getting the wood to burn easily-- part of the problem is probably that much of my wood is barely seasoned, and the oak especially is just not easy to get burning until you have a nice bed of hot coals. I replaced it with the Euro plate and I believe the stove is performing better. The wood seems to catch fire and burn more readily. Plus, the glass stays very reasonably clean. Just before I fire it up in the morning, I give the window a quick cleaning with some stove glass spray, which works great. So, I'd recommend the Euro version, but experiment and let me know what you find.

    By the way, if your fire is reluctant to continue burning, just crack open the ash bin door and you get this incredible turbo effect as the smoldering embers roar to life. The manual says not to do this lest you overburn the stove and damage its interior, but I think if you're reasonably judicious about using this technique, your stove will be just fine.

    Andy
  7. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    I am impressed looks great love that brick work Go Pats another super bowl
  8. pfmg

    pfmg Member

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    Beautiful install Andy. I purchased a castine last winter, and use the US plate with no problems. I find the trick to getting the fire going really good is to leave the door open a crack until everything catches, from there it is no holding it back. My door also stays very clean.

    My dealer warned me that i WILL want to use the ash pan door to feed the fire from time to time, but it should not be done, because it can lead to the grate cracking, and if Jotul suspects that the cause was using the ash pan door to fire the stove, they will not fix it under warranty. I don't know if that is true or not, but he is a very respected dealer in the area, so i had no reason not to believe him.
  9. amazer

    amazer New Member

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    Thanks for your insights, pfmg. I didn't realize that venting via the ash pan door could lead to grate cracking. I hate to give up the "turbo", but I just may have to-- I'll try your technique with the main door and see how that works. You know, I tried contacting Jotul in Portland to speak to an expert about some of the stove's functions, but the receptionist said that they had no one on staff who could (i.e., would be willing to) answer my questions. (I wanted to find out why there was such a long delay between when you adjust the air flow and when you see a response in the firebox, and also if there were any emissions differences between the Euro and US adapter plates).

    It's pretty damn bad that a leading manufacturer like Jotul is unwilling to talk to its customers-- their line is that they refer all customers to dealers, but in my case the dealer didn't know the answer.
  10. carpniels

    carpniels Minister of Fire

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    Rome, NY, USA
    Hi amazer,

    I see what you mean. I went to a few dealers and one of them had a Quadrafire Isle Royale burning. As soon as he opened the ash door the fire seemed to explore and roar. Quite spectacular. That way you can melt your own iron and make horseshoes!!!

    I actually have the identical problem with my Vermont Castings Intrepid II. I leave the front door a crack open until the kindling is really lit and then add larger wood and close the door. Works every time!!

    I am sure you, PFMG and I will get all the kinks worked out with our Castines. We will be known around this board and the 'three castineers". !!!!!!

    I only had one metals air control bricklet (which actually came off the track and went in the right part of the stove. What a pain to get it out. We put the stove on it's side and wiggled it until it fell out.)

    Tonight is install night. I will keep you all informed.

    Carpniels

    PS. Mine is a two door model. Are both yours 1 door models?
  11. pfmg

    pfmg Member

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    Loc:
    Billerica MA

    Strange - Mine will respond instantly after adjusting the air control, i can even hear the increase or decrease in airflow if i listen carefully.
  12. pfmg

    pfmg Member

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    Mine is a one door model, the two door is the old model i believe.
  13. adrpga498

    adrpga498 Minister of Fire

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    Mine is the 2 door model 2002 purchase. I like the 2 door model , I only need to open one side to load while burning. Keep intouch & good luck
  14. carpniels

    carpniels Minister of Fire

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    Hi Castineers,

    I am working on the install and naturally things went wrong. The double wall pipe does not connect to anything!!!

    I have a metalbestos double wall 6" black extendable pipe that I wanted to connect between the stove and the prefabricated chimney. It turns out I need a stove top adaptor. The double wall cannot be connected directly to the stove. GGRRRRRR.

    Moreover, I could not connect the double wall pipe to the single wall 6" that is dropping down from the ceiling. GGRRRRR.

    So I went to my local stove store and asked for adapter. They had them, but the brand is metal-fab, which does not connect to metalbestos pipe. GRRRRR.

    Then I went to a metalbestos dealer and they said:
    A) the stove top adaptor is a short piece of 6" single wall the connects the stove to the double wall. They said to make is short enough so you do not see it between the stove top and the double wall pipe.
    B) the adaptor is need for the double wall to connect to the single wall in the ceiling does not exist. They said to just shove it in real hard and they demonstrated it in the store. It worked.

    I also noticed that the two holes for the screws in the top of the stove (where the stovepipe goes) are actually threaded. Does your install actually use bolts that fit the thread or just sheetmetal screws through the holes and the pipe? And if bolts were used, how does it hold the pipe down? It 'squeezes' it? Or is the bolt threaded from inside out?

    What is your guys opinion on these installation tips? Was it installed in your house the same way? Any comments?

    Carpniels
  15. pfmg

    pfmg Member

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    Sorry Carpniels, i didn't do my install. But having watched the install closely and taking the stove pipe off the top of the stove so i can clean the pipe i can tell you this.

    My stove pipe adapter is screwed through those holes on the top of the stove into the adapter with sheet metal screws, then my stove pipe attach's to the adapter with three screws.
    My chimney system is from Excel
  16. carpniels

    carpniels Minister of Fire

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    Hi guys,

    Here another update.

    Yesterday, I cut the stove pipe adapter to size and installed the stove pipe. Then we lit it. It took two tries to get it going. Then there was a lot of smoke and it took about 1 hour for the thermometer to read above 100. Added wood when needed. The stove stank a little ( it was painted recently). I had the air supply all the way to the right (i.e. full open) and slowly the temp kept rising. After about 3 hours it got seriously warm (400) and started heating the house. By the time I went to bed, it was 600.

    I love it. The heat is different from my VC Intrepid II. It seems like a moist heat not a dry blistering heat. The flames are gorgeous to look at and the air lever works almost instantly. The flames are easy to regulate.

    This morning, after the first over night burn, the stove was full of coals. I shoved them around to get the small ash into the ashpan. While doing that, I saw some red coals. I added two small pieces of wood, closed the glass doors and opened the ash drawer. Then the 'turbo' went on and within 10 seconds I had flames, the wood lit and bingo: the fire was on again!!!! What a change from the VC. That stove is too small for overnight burns so I would have to start from scratch every morning. What a pain. This Castine made it so easy. I really like that feature.

    The only disadvantage is that the glass was about 80% black. I turned up the heat and it burned of a little bit. Do you guys have that too? When you turn the air low, overnight the glass turns black? What do you do to combat that?

    Thanks

    Carpniels

    PS. I will add a few pictures when I can borrow a digital camera.
  17. adrpga498

    adrpga498 Minister of Fire

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    HI Carpniels,

    Glad to hear things are going well with the castine. What I do for the overnight burn is rake 90% of the coals to the front so they ignight the new load asap. This will reduce any chance for "blackened glass" helps the "air wash technigue" . Although, I must say having at least 9 month seasoned wood is what really counts. Make sure your wood is; 1. seasoned, 2. it is ( the over night load ) fully charred prior to reducing the air intake. By following these steps I have had 8+ hrs . of over night burns with clear glass in the morning. Put your largerest split in the rear of the stove also. Good luck & keep in touch.
  18. Wyatt

    Wyatt New Member

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    Whatcom County, WA
    Amazer, Very nice install! I too have a Castine yet to be installed and I'm curious how the installer attached the vertical stove pipe to the collar on the stove. The collar on my stove does not have any type of taper for my stove pipe to fit in and it also seems to be upswept on the side facing forward. Did your installer have to modify the stove pipe to create a better fit? If you could take a pic of the connection between the stove and pipe I would appreciate it. Hope this makes sense?

    Wyatt
  19. amazer

    amazer New Member

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    Wyatt,

    Here's a photo of the pipe at the back of the stove. The vertical pipe seems to fit inside of the stove fitting with no problem-- I can't see that the pipe has to taper in order to fit inside the exhaust port (if that's what it's called). Hope this photo helps!

    -Andy



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  20. Wyatt

    Wyatt New Member

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    Thanks for the pic; I really like your install. Don't know why my dealer said to modify the pipe to fit. It's almost like he wanted me to install the first vertical section over the collar from the stove. As we know, that would allow moisture and soot to drip out where the pipe and stove collar join. I am having it professionally installed in a few weeks, but none the less wanted to know it's done right.

    Thanks for your time,

    Wyatt
  21. carpniels

    carpniels Minister of Fire

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    Hi Wyatt,

    My double wall extendable pipe did not fit my stove either. I had to buy a 12" section of regualr single wall black pipe and cut it off small (maybe 2 inch) so that the double wall would fit tightly over that. The single wall crimped end fits nicely in the stove. No single wall pipe can be seen (all covered by the stove and the double wall).

    Works great.

    Carpniels
  22. WOODBUTCHER

    WOODBUTCHER Minister of Fire

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    That belongs on Jotuls website.......or in their brochure.....nice job!
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