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Jotul F 3 CB Not Burning Evenly?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by tutu_sue, Feb 2, 2006.

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  1. tutu_sue

    tutu_sue New Member

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    Hello, I'm hoping for some help with our Jotul F 3 CB wood stove. We've been using it about a month now. I noticed that the wood was not burning as well on the left side of the stove. There aren't as many flames or as bright of flames with full air and with the primary lever down to the left, the flames always originate on the right side of the stove. The left third of the stove glass always gets dirty brown while the right side stays perfectly clean. I noticed that the lower left corner of the door (on the right when looking at the door when open) has a shiny black deposit. We took the top off and on the corners on the left there are also the shiny black deposits. Same for the flue adaptor, it has shiny black on the left and fluffy brown on the right. We also noticed that there are some globs of excess grey stove cement around the lip of the stove on the right and the cement has depressions from the gasket in it. Could this be interfering with the seating of the top? The cement sealing the seam in the right rear has a slight crack in it and doesn't fill the gap to the outside corner.

    We have since turned the top around 180 degrees and have minimal improvement and still see signs of uneven burning. After the fire dies down and the flames go out, the parts of the logs on the left side of the stove are charred but not glowing and I have to move them to the center front of the stove to get them to burn to ash. Glass still gets dirty on left and perfectly clear on right.

    Maybe I'm wrong and this is acceptable performance? If I'm right and you think there is a problem, any advice would be most appreciated. Thanks!!!

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  2. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

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    how's your door gaskets?
    did you give them the dollar bill test?
  3. wahoowad

    wahoowad Minister of Fire

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    Sue,

    Use the search function for this forum to search for subject lines containing "3CB" and you will find a couple recent discussions specifically about the Jotul 3CB. I have had mine a month and had somewhat similar problems and found these threads helpful. Your stove does not sound like it is working properly.

    I will add one thing. I too thought my stove was not burning well on the left side, initially. I then realized I was just loading it more (or perhaps differently) on the right, maybe because of just how my arm motion and all worked as I loaded. Since then, as I gained experience with the stove, I have done a better job of even loading. Not saying this is your problem - just trying to add what I can. I personally have a problem with lower stove temps than others seem to get but that is a different issue. I continue to research that and experiment/learn with my new stove.

    [edit] OK, I still have a tiny nagging worry about the back left corner of my stove. I sometimes see the flame behave a little differently back there and I just wonder....but my room is getting darn toasty and I'm trying to stop obsessing over maximum peak super-duper efficiency like I always do. Your's sounds like a worse situation.
  4. Nokoni

    Nokoni New Member

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    Yes, Sue the above post is good advice. There were pictures and info. about this issue so try a search. Apparently the top plate of the stove can be not secured properly and so the burn is uneven. I haven't had this problem but my top plate is even.
  5. tutu_sue

    tutu_sue New Member

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    Thank you for your help. I will be checking the door gasket with the dollar bill. Maybe even with the Ben Franklin I have just to be 100% sure. Just kidding.

    I have read all the F 3 CB posts and they were very informative. I've tried loading evenly, centered from left to right, logs parallel to each other on a good even bed of embers with same result.

    I had mistakenly taken some wood from one of the racks that was split and stacked early summer 2005 and I could not get the temp to go over 450F the whole cycle. Then I used wood we split and stacked in the summer of 2004 and have gotten regular burn temps of 500F and up. Now when I get wood, I don't take the heavy ones, just the ones that feel lighter compared to their size. Also low burn temps when logs got wet from rain bringing them into the house. Maybe as an experiment you can buy one of those small firewood bundles at the store and if you can get higher temps.

    I've also been reading about negative pressure in houses. You can try burning your usual wood, but with a window or door cracked to outside on the same floor and then upstairs to see if that makes a difference. Our home was built in 1989 and our stove is on one end of the ground floor, like a daylight walk in basement. I noticed when my husband opens the door on the far end of the house that goes to the outdoors, the action in the stove picks up a wee bit and then reverts when he closes it. Wierd.
  6. tutu_sue

    tutu_sue New Member

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    Now you hve me thinking about that corner. Hmmm...you know that log retainer thingie has a heftier piece of iron blocking air on the handle side and the handle side probably doesn't close at tightly as the hinge side and the air moving from left to right..hmm...i mean just a couple of molecules could make a difference...hmmm...we're both cursed...
  7. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    That would be me Sue. It sounds like air may be leaking somewhere it's not wanted. Did you install the stove yourselves or was this a dealer install? Here is the link to my posting on the problem:

    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/46/

    Dryness of wood will also have a dramatic effect, but not from side to side. We're struggling with a cord that was not stored correctly (until I got it). There are some damp pieces in there. I have to burn this wood with much more air than for known dry wood.
  8. wahoowad

    wahoowad Minister of Fire

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    tutu_sue,

    Seen anything new? I went back to obsessing about my own left-burn concern and have been watching things this weekend. I've noticed I get much more reburn flames on the right side - and have seen this across several burn cycles now.

    Those baffles are fed from a secondary air supply (back of stove) that you can not control. Air is constantly flowing through them whether reburn is happening or not. I can still see air rushing through these baffles jets of air push through flames. Sometimes it is a blue jet of flame (reburn) and sometimes it is just a cone of air blowing through the flames (if present). I see far more air flow through the right side than left. It does not make sense to me - nothing inside that baffle chamber should be regulating or causing a different flow, yet I feel I am seeing the results of differing flow. If anything I would expect the opposite since the air supply for that chamber is on theleft side and the air should have aneasier time exiting closer to the source rather than flowing across the chamber and then exiting.

    BeGreen, tutu_sue - can you try to look for this over a couple burns and comment on what you see? Theories?
  9. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Our secondary burn is pretty consistant and doesn't favor one side or the other. If anything it favors the location of the most intensely burning piece or end of the wood. Sometimes it's uniform, but often it will shift around. It's almost always rolling and alive. And it varies with the wood and at what stage of burning the stove is (hot, with fresh wood; hot - wood charred; hot- all wood actively glowing red, hot- just a bed of red coals).

    A more objective way to see if there is an issue is with a good stove top thermometer. Our stove heats quite evenly now. The reading taken about 8" to the left or right of top center is equal. Before I got my tove working correctly, there was a large difference of 100-150 degrees. I'm heading out of town for a few days, so I can't report current observations, but recommend the thermometer test first. If it's quite uneven, look for air leaks and make sure the stove is level.
  10. wahoowad

    wahoowad Minister of Fire

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    I'm back in the camp of observing uneven burn in the left corner. I've been watching it and continue to see far more reburn on the right. I see a difference in flame color when comparing the right, center and left side. The right and center are usually the same - just less flame, cooler looking flame, less active flame in the left corner. Attached are shots from different times showing unburnt soot that collects on the reburn baffle. This soot tends to burn off everywhere else. I see far less reburn right where these soot is.

    I've checked and adjusted the lid (thanks BeGreen). I've observed no noticable leaks using smokey inscense. Dollar bill slides out under uniform snug tension from the door. My stove gets hotter now - I'm usually in the 400-525 range, but a hard peak at 525 (in fact I think my thermometer is 50 high so it's more like in the 400's. I'm still surprised I haven't hit higher with some of my more active burns. I think I will tweak the final amount of heat and efficiency out of this stove if I can get the left side burning like the center and right.

    oh - and how can I contact jotul customer support directly? I've heard folks referencing their interaction with customer support technicians and thought I might run a detailed explanaition by them and see what they think. I've wondering if their is a common assembly concern that they are hearing over and over since there are several here who have commented on the problem with the left side of the stove.

    Attached Files:

  11. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Great pictures, Wahoo, they help. The sooting up on the secondary airlets may be the clue. Mine are uniformly light grey. The soot seems to be pointing to the problem. Just a guess, I've never had my secondary manifold apart, but it looks like the secondary air is unbalanced. It's almost like there is air leaking a the bottom back part of the secondary manifold cover. (Where the two bolts attach it to the back. The picture is looking straight at them.) If it were me, I'd stop there and work with the dealer. Tell your dealer that your stove has a flaw and that either you want it fixed to your satisfaction or you want a new stove. There is no way that the owner of a new stove should be triaging the internals of the stove. You have great visual evidence of the problem.

    Re: Jotul tech support. In order to get a warranty claim fulfilled, it was explained to me that the process you need to follow is to first work with your dealer. If they can not resolve the issue, then you are officially referred by the dealer to Jotul tech support. Get a case number from Jotul TS. Then, if Jotul tech support can not resolve the issue, you can return to the dealer and say that Jotul is unable to resolve the issue and request a new stove.
  12. wahoowad

    wahoowad Minister of Fire

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    I imagine that area is cooler for some reason. I'll take the pics to my dealer. Hopefully Jotul pays them for customer service effort as my dealer doesn't have 2 seconds for me if it doesn't involve a sale or service.
  13. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Well, hopefully by now things aren't quite as frantic at the dealer's. You paid for service when you bought this expensive little stove. If it's not right, they need to fix it. Be sure to document everything so that you have evidence for a warranty claim.
  14. tutu_sue

    tutu_sue New Member

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    After checking all gaskets and making sure top is level, etc., I'm going to point to the left lug on the log retainer. If you notice, this lug is bigger and deeper into the firebox than the right lug. I gather this is designed to protect the door latch mechanism from heat failure. Because the lug protudes further into the firebox, this causes the pimary air to deflect inward sooner and has a shorter 'trajectory' from front to back. Less air makes it to the back left corner of the box.
  15. wahoowad

    wahoowad Minister of Fire

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    welcome back Sue!

    I see exactly what you mean. That could potentially impact airflow trajectories. I'll need to take another look up in my stove and see if I think any primary air ports would attempt to supply air right above this piece. I'm not sure if it would cause my observed issue - do you see your rear baffle retaining soot like mine does in the pictures I posted? That area is obviously not getting hot enough to burn off that soot like the rest of the baffle. I think it is because of less air flow out the left side baffles and hence less reburn over there. Reburn would heat that sucker up for sure.

    Oddly, the physical air intake is right behind that left side baffle area. Yet the air wants to flow out the holes further away a lot more. I have my theories but don't want to type the physics out. I do not think there is an obstruction - it is just going to work that way given how air will flow in that chamber.
  16. hawse

    hawse New Member

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    hello all,been following this thread.I have had a f3cb for 4 years and prforms excellent but seeing those close up shots reminds me of 2 years ago.Apparently my fire box was held together w/cement and after a year or so the cement let go and firebox actually collapsed-burn shelf fell in and side wall fell outward.Dealer wood not help and threatened to hang up until he walked over to his floor model to see that bolts where supposed to come all the way through the holes in the back w/a nut threaded on and bolts coming through the burn shelf through bolt holes in the side platew/nuts threaded on them.Then the dealers attitude changed from you are out of my svc area to helping me fix the problem.He got me the hardware and did it myself and told him to go pound salt.Point is,most of the dealers really suck,jotul has qc problems but it should be nothing you cant handle.Just came to mind,There is a gasket behind the secondary burn plate if they didnt put it in it will effect your secondary burn.You can check by taking the top off and look along the back wall-good luck,Pat
  17. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    Take your pictures to the dealer on a Saturday and show them to a couple perspective customers as you stand there waiting to get his attention. Say something like..."I love my stove, but it's just heating my house as well as I think it can...I have these pictures and I'm just wating here to talk to Joe the dealership owner to see if he can help me. I've been back here x times and I sure hope he has some time to help me today, cause this is getting very frustrating"

    My guess is that you WILL get his attention and your problem resolved.

    Say nothing mean, say nothing incorrect, do not embellish on anything, just facts, and let the facts do the work for you.

    That stove is very nice, and should do better than that. Just for comparison...the burn tubes on top of my stove are all a uniform gray due to a little fly ash and lots of heating. I can't possibly imagine getting any soot like in your photo.
  18. tutu_sue

    tutu_sue New Member

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    Yes, I have noticed brown to black soot on the left side of the baffle and I have what appears to be glaze creosote on the left corners of the top as you can see in the photo. Now when I reload, I put extra coals in the corners and I put one log across the top crossways from right rear to left front. That seems to get more flame and heat to the left side of the stove so the gases can release and burn on the back log. If I burn over 500F, the glass clears up a bit, but still cloudy.

    Thank you very much hawse for telling us about your experience. Now we know what to look for. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Once the burning season is over, we're going to take the stove apart and give it the most thorough once over. There's some excess cement we can remove on top and some spots that can use a bit more and well definitely make sure all is seated, true and square and there.

    For now I can't complain about the heat she's putting out. It's very easy to burn 550F to 600F, but I try to keep it around 475F - 500F for better burn times. I found that my Rutland stove thermometer was running 50F low over 400F. I bought a Condar ChimGard thermometer and now I take an average. I guess the one time I scared the heck out of myself by going up to 610F, I really wasn't. Whew! :)

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  19. tutu_sue

    tutu_sue New Member

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    Hey Guys, I have a couple more pics to show you.

    In photo one, you can see nastiness on left side of the door.

    In photo two, you can see the excess cement with the gasket imprint in it and also corner not filled in. We're going to clean this up.

    In photo three, you can see gasket that hawse was pointing out. Yes, we have one but also will make sure it's properly installed all around.

    Attached Files:

  20. tutu_sue

    tutu_sue New Member

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    One more...

    In photo four, you can see nastiness on the left side of the flue adaptor.

    I need to minimize the impact a stove on the environment by getting this stove burning as evenly and efficiently as possible. Besides less trips to the wood pile with 18 inches of snow outside is defintely desirable as well. Okay it's melting, but still..

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  21. hawse

    hawse New Member

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    Your lookin pretty good there.It looks as if all hardware is in place,the gasket is there and looks straight-Just dont mess around w/ it to much cause i dont beleive its cemented and it makes a funny little curve at the end.Dont worry to much about the nastiness where they came to a corner with the cement,It just pressed out a little.Great little stove and youll enjoy it more now that you know it inside out.
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