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Maintenance Question Regarding late 1980s Kodiak Stove Insert

Post in 'Classic Wood Stove Forums (prior to approx. 1993)' started by LaBonBon, Oct 11, 2012.

  1. LaBonBon

    LaBonBon Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2012
    Messages:
    7
    Loc:
    Stillwater, Minnesota USA
    Hello Hearth.com Members! What a wonderful website! I am so glad I found this forum and you experts as I am in need of guidance.

    Around 1985 or 1986 there was some sort of issue with the fireplace at my family’s home. Some bricks were replaced and an Ahrens two-step liner system was added. Next, my parents had a Kodiak wood-burning stove insert installed into the fireplace. When my father died in 1990 my mother had a chimney sweep “clean” the unit and “close the flue.”

    My mother has since passed and now I’m back living in the family homestead. I really miss wood-burning heat and decided to open up the stove, with the assistance of a guy friend of mine who has a lifetime of experience with fireplaces. We opened the clean out door and saw “duct work.” Obviously there is no flue anymore which makes me wonder what my mom paid for? Anyway, we made a test fire and the stove/fireplace works beautifully.



    [​IMG]


    My friend has always cleaned his own chimneys but was perplexed about the process/need for cleaning what is essentially ductwork. I have the owner’s manual with the stove but there is nothing about regular maintenance. ??? I am burning only oak (no pine) with maybe a bit of apple wood down the road.

    I called Alaska Stove Company but they just regurgitated a line about current EPA standards and how they do not support this unit anymore.

    My question for you experts is: What do you recommend for proper maintenance? My friend has regular chimney-cleaning brushes but will this work on ductwork? How often should we clean?

    Thanks so much for any and all light you can shed on my situation! This stove does a wonderful job heating my two story home and I want to do everything right.

    LaBonBon

    [​IMG]

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    49,540
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    Can you post some pictures of this "ductwork"? There should be a continuous connection from the stove to the lined chimney. It might be worth it to have a professional certified sweep check the system out this one time. There is nothing like a set of trained eyeballs at the site. Then, once the sweep has confirmed that the stove is correctly and safely setup and your questions about the "ductwork" answered, you can burn with peace of mind and clean the chimney yourself in the future.
  3. LaBonBon

    LaBonBon Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2012
    Messages:
    7
    Loc:
    Stillwater, Minnesota USA
    Thanks so much for the reply!

    I could take a photo this weekend then post it.

    The system was professionally installed and tested. I found the paperwork/invoices. Also, it was professionally cleaned after my father died and has not been used since so I know it is "clean."

    I have been surprised that there is nothing in any of my paperwork, including the Kodiak's owner's manual, regarding regular maintenance. ??? For example, when you buy a lawnmower the owner's manual tells you to change the oil after so many hours of usage. My friend has told me that with his regular fireplace he cleans the chimney each spring after the fire season is over. Does this rule of thumb also apply to a stove insert? Does metal tubing require the same amount of cleaning? More? Less?

    [​IMG]
  4. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Loc:
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    The old stoves were pretty simple and maintenance was usually done by a sweep not the owner, so I can understand this omission. Usually it is included in modern stoves.

    Yes, the chimney still needs to be swept regularly. How often will depend on the wood, flue temps and how the insert is run. If the wood is only partially seasoned and the fire is frequently choked down to a smolder, then it may need sweeping every other week. If shorter hotter fires are burned and the stove is not allowed to smolder then it may not need cleaning more than once or twice a season.
  5. LaBonBon

    LaBonBon Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2012
    Messages:
    7
    Loc:
    Stillwater, Minnesota USA
    Thanks for the good advice! This coming weekend my friend is going to go up on the roof and take the cap off the chimney and test out his brushes to see if they fit.

    I ordered a log splitter today from Home Depot so we can cut our wood into more manageable pieces. The delivered oak is well aged but most of the pieces are HUGE.

    I really had to laugh the other day. I was talking with an associate at Menard's home improvement store and telling him about how we were getting the ol' fireplace back up and running. He remarked that "free heat" was wonderful. Ha! I reminded him that it ain't free. I have spent a small fortune this fall on: wood, utensils, log racks, ash can, and now a log splitter (to date).
  6. gd420mj

    gd420mj New Member

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    Nov 14, 2012
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    May I chime in. So LaBonBon, i have the same stove as you. Except I don't think mine is installed properly. We moved in 3 yrs ago. Used it a bit at first then nevre used it again. Now have a renewed ineterst. (After power loss from sandy for a few days...). So I was wondering how much wood you use in this, how much do you dampen it, how hot is top?
    Mine is installed into recessed area and all the heat collectes up there and never gets more than the room warm. The large frame around it, where your sheet metal is installed blocks a lot of heat. WHen my stove top is 400, that frame is almost touchable. I was thinking of covering up the spaces in the brick work woth sheet metal so the heat doesn't get so trapped up there. Does yours have a blower? i imagine a blower underneath to blow are in the frame work out the top. A lot of heat int there.

    IMG_6958aa.jpg IMG_6976aa.jpg
  7. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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  8. LaBonBon

    LaBonBon Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2012
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    Loc:
    Stillwater, Minnesota USA
    Hi gd420m,

    Sorry to read you aren't getting much heat. My father had ours professionally installed so I assume all is correct. He's an ugly old beast but he keeps my two-story home toasty warm.

    I bought two cords of wood but that won't be anywhere near enough. It took some experimenting but I have found a formula that works perfectly. First of all, I bought a five ton electric log splitter from Homelite that is one of the best investments I've ever made. This allowed me to split the pieces into a more manageable size. Also, the wood will last longer.
    [​IMG]
    I build two strategically-placed levels of wood: three logs on the bottom, three logs on the top. I place the logs diagonally to allow maximum air flow. Once the fire is burning well I turn the dampers down to about one turn each. This slow burn produces good heat and allows the burn to last three to four hours easily. The real key is to get a good hot bed of coals going. I sleep upstairs and for health reasons can't get up at night to feed the fire. After eight or nine hours there are still burning embers so the fire is easy to restart.

    Yes, I have the original blower and that helps a lot. My friend suggested getting an additional fan to place at the bottom of the steps but so far, at least, that has not been necessary. The temp went down to 16 two nights ago and I was warm upstairs.

    By the way, I empathize with your situation regarding power loss. I have a lot of outages here and this was the impetus behind getting the Kodiak back up and running. It was a good decision. My house is totally electric and wood heat beats that hands down. My first post-stove electric bill arrived last week and was only $85. In the winter/late fall the bill is usually around $200. I wish I could afford to buy four or five more cords but I am currently unemployed and looking for a job. :(

    Best of luck with your old fella. I think with the suggestions offered from our moderator you should be able to get it working perfectly. The beauty of the ol' Kodiak is there is practically nothing to go wrong. He's pretty simple and straight forward. A guy my friend works with has one of the new fancy schmancy "beautiful" inserts with glass doors and said he would happily trade for my ol' beast. The cast iron doors produce a lot of heat.

    [​IMG]
  9. Len Kampf

    Len Kampf New Member

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    Loc:
    holland, pennsylvania
  10. Len Kampf

    Len Kampf New Member

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    Loc:
    holland, pennsylvania
    This is the stove I have in my hunting camp. It has survived to arson fires, and it was the only thing that survived each time.
    Several question. Does the stove have any gaskets and how many bricks? Any further info is appreciated. It has ten inch flue to an outside chimney.

    Len
  11. LaBonBon

    LaBonBon Member

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    Loc:
    Stillwater, Minnesota USA
    Hi Len!

    It's truly an amazing beast, isn't it! I will check tomorrow and answer your questions. In the meantime, did you see that I had posted the instruction manual? Check that out. Talk atcha' tomorrow.

    By the way, this is my second winter with the ol' man and he's working just great. This summer I put half a bottle of stove polish on him and he looks like brand new. The true beauty of this beast is there is virtually nothing serious that can go wrong. If one of the fire bricks breaks, just replace it. Also, our friend gd420m had a broken baffle but that can be replaced, too. To date all I replaced was the gasket around the area where the doors close. Easy peasy.
  12. Len Kampf

    Len Kampf New Member

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    Nov 13, 2013
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    Loc:
    holland, pennsylvania
    That ductwork, is probably a flue liner of metal
  13. LaBonBon

    LaBonBon Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2012
    Messages:
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    Loc:
    Stillwater, Minnesota USA
    Hi Len!

    Yes, you are correct. My chimney has an Ahren's liner, but then the Kodiak stove has a metal tube flue liner than extends several feet into the chimney.

    I checked the manual today and there are several different brick placements. See the page image below. As I mentioned before, there is one gasket that runs around the opening where the doors close. Last year i purchased a replacement gasket at ACE hardware.

    Let me know if you need any additional info. Best of luck with your old beast!

    LaBonBon


    Kodiak Owner's Manual 7.jpg
  14. tashaw76

    tashaw76 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2014
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    1
    Loc:
    Florence, Alabama

    I just purchased a very used kodiak insert, without the blower, or anything else for that fact. We have managed to get it installed, but are lacking any information on the blower model that is to be used with it. I noticed that you mentioned in your post that you had posted a manual, where is that link at? and do you have any information on blower model for this insert?
  15. gd420mj

    gd420mj New Member

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    Nov 14, 2012
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    If your insert look like the pics I posted, I made my own blower with parts from the Home Depot or Lowes. Some duct work and a cheap blower. It was a bit noisy, as I didn't want to spend extra money on a squirrel cage blower. I'll try to find some pics. But it worked great and when stove was Hot, it blew out a lot of air

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