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Mt Vernon AE Insert -- need more heat.

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by Greg Omagh, Jan 25, 2013.

  1. Greg Omagh

    Greg Omagh New Member

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    I know it's been in the single digits the last few days here in Central Mass, but I am a (negatively) surprised at the performance of my stove. This is my first season with the appliance (started burning in mid-Nov '12), so I just want to check I am doing everything I can. My home was built in 2003, It's 2400 sq ft. The fireplace is in the family room, cathedral ceiling with fan running. Laser thermo gun confirms warm air is not pooling in up high.

    I have been burning Okies since the start. I calibrated the flame height per the manual and found that -4 worked best. The stove is perfect when the temps are > 20F. I only use it on manual mode, but I can set it to 3, 4 or 5 as I need to based out outside temps. In these days the family room would get into the low 70s and the kitchen, where the controller is, high 60s eventually hitting the set point of 71F if it is warmer outside.

    Now with the frigid temps I have the stove on 5 Manual. In the morning the family room is 66 and the kitchen 63. I can't understand this. I thought at least the family room would stay warm. I switched to Blazers after a good clean down of the stove and these render +2 degree benefit in the family room.

    I have read about all kinds of settings e.g. -5 Corn. Has it really come to this, I am thinking?

    I would appreciate any thoughts folks might have.

    Perhaps my expectations were simply too high and need to turn on the oil.

    Thanks.

    Greg

    Some misc stuff:

    • We're good about cleaning it. We clean every two days with ash vac.
    • We have OAK
    • We did the baffle after the first ton, per the manual.
    • In total we've burned 1 ton + 20 bags.
    • The controller is about 20 feet from the stove, but I have an 'stat for the oil in family room, which is where I take my reading. I have check it agreed with thermo.
    • The opening from family room is about 12 x 8.

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  2. Greg Omagh

    Greg Omagh New Member

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    But wouldn't the flame height go over the top? It already peaks over the top of the diamond in -4. I'll try it now though.
  3. joescho

    joescho Feeling the Heat

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    OMV do you keep it on that setting all winter or just for these cold snaps? I have to check to see how I'm burning, but I really have to complaints.
  4. Greg Omagh

    Greg Omagh New Member

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    I am on softwood. I am also on start of the 2nd of 3 bags of Blazers which I got to try. I am on +2 now. The flame height didn't change. and if anything is more steady and lower than -4. I am very confused.
  5. Greg Omagh

    Greg Omagh New Member

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    OK, 30 mins on +2 and already feels warmer. I am worried the flame height as I thought it could damage the stove. Here are two pics of the height at the min / max. It only stays at the higher for a short time.

    Flame height low

    Flame height high
  6. john193

    john193 Minister of Fire

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    I find that on single digits I need to bump the stove to manual 5 as well. I was having issues similar to yours until I bumped my flame height from -1 to 2 and I find I can bump the stove down to 4 on manual. I have found that you may need to monkey with the flame height with the temp. The quality of pellets make a difference.

    I've had mine since oct of 2012. Still learning as well. Good thread. Hopefully more veteran quad owners will chime in.

    As a side note, what is so special about the sunflower mode? I use softwood but I'm seeing more and more people recommend it on cold days.
  7. john193

    john193 Minister of Fire

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    Even at a flame height of 2 I can get the tips of the flame to lick the top of the baffle. But I'm always up for experimenting!
  8. Greg Omagh

    Greg Omagh New Member

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    Well I personally appreciate your help today. I'll keep watching what happens. I have not gone to sunflower settings yet.
  9. Greg Omagh

    Greg Omagh New Member

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    OMV I am 72 in the family room now. 67 in the kitchen. So net +3 degrees in one hour. I am happy. Slight plastic smell, but I am guessing that the stove just hasn't been this hot since new.

    So going forward, which is the best way to control the heat? Go from 5 to 4, or use flame height adjust?
  10. john193

    john193 Minister of Fire

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    Likely a combination of the two because the flame height only adjusts the amount of pellets the auger dumps, while upping the stove to 5 increases auger operation as well as the combustion and distributor blower.
  11. PelletRat

    PelletRat Member

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    I live in southern Mass the last three mornings have been 10, 4, and 11. Normally I run in automatic mode when the outside temp rises during the day into the 40’s or higher.
    When it stays below freezing I switch manual mode. During this cold snap I’m running manual 3 flame -5 blower quiet and softwood. Using Freedom Fuel mostly and added in a few bags of Green Team Platinum. Heating about 2K sq ft. the first floor is 73 and the second is 70-71.
    My unit is a fire place insert build 2009.
  12. kinsmanstoves

    kinsmanstoves Minister of Fire

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    This stove is the reason for Global Warming. I did not read the other posts so I am shooting from the hip.

    1.) turn that flame height up. +4 works great. Remember fire is hot.
    2.) put it in auto mode and set the programming to the time and temp you want.
    3.) after one ton have you removed the combustion blower and cleaned in there?
    4.) sent it on hardwood pellets and leave it unless you change fuel.

    Question, how many bags a day are you burning? If you tell me 1/2 a bag drop and give me 25, NOW!
    You will not get the heat you want doing that. I do but I also have a wood stove,, yes it is a Quad.

    Eric
  13. kinsmanstoves

    kinsmanstoves Minister of Fire

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    Bwwwaaaahhhhh! Are you serious?
  14. Harvey Schneider

    Harvey Schneider Minister of Fire

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    I keep my house a bit cooler than many on this forum, 65 at night and 68 - 70 during the day. My Mt Vernon has kept up with the work load without a problem. I have been monitoring the convection air temperature, just out of curiosity. With the insert running in manual and flame height set to 4, burning Greene Team's, the air temperature has varied from 230 to 260 deg F. At the end of an autoclean (just restarting), the air temperature was at 156 deg F.
    It has been consuming about 2.5 bags a day during this cold spell. That's only about 28000 BTU per hour delivered. The chimney sweep will be here tomorrow (I don't do roofs anymore). We'll see what the output is after that. To produce the full capacity of this stove pellet consumption would have to be over four bags a day.

    OMV I'm glad to see that you're a beliver now.
    oldmountvernon likes this.
  15. Kadet40

    Kadet40 Member

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    Make sure your convection fan speed it set to "normal" and not on quiet.
  16. Greg Omagh

    Greg Omagh New Member

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    I am not really in the habit of asking questions for the yucks. When you invest a lot of money and the dealer says about 50 times the flame height needs to be 8" or near the top of diamond, it seems that should be something I should be paying attention to. The manual says how to set that height, which I did, and that's why I am where I am today.
  17. Greg Omagh

    Greg Omagh New Member

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    I have not cleaned the convection blower. I thought that was an end of season task?

    I am burning about 1 bag per 12 hours. I filled it at 6PM friday and just got the low hopper warning about 7AM this morning. In comparison, since OMV told me to change my settings, the family room was 72F this morning, which is awesome. Overnight the stove was on Softwood, 4, FH +2. Outside temp is 11F, so I feel like the comparison to earlier days is OK. I am switching over to some LGs now and then some Vermonts, before I start back to my Okie pile. The Blazers were awesome, easy to pour, didn't get stuck in the hopper corner or get stuck in the back of the surround. Flame was bright. Loved them.

    Thanks for the reply.
  18. LMPS

    LMPS Feeling the Heat

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    Well Harvey and Oldmountvernon from our earlier threat on this, I am now a believer also!! I have been going all in on this +5 on the flame height and auto high during the cold snap. WOW this is the best heat I have ever had out of this stove. Kept up very nice during the cold snap. Plan to back it off after Sunday when it starts to warm up here.

    Yes been going through some pellets but oh well better than the oil man coming and more importantly I am not listening to the wife say its cold in the house :) Yes the flame is huge but oh well I need the heat and if breaks something it can be fixed.

    I have kept it on Hardwood because I noticed on softwood the firepot was getting too full between auto cleanings. I had to scrape the firepot a few times.

    I really do not think it matters if your run on auto or manual. If you set the temp you are calling for in auto higher than you want it then it will burn in High or Med High so it accomplishes the same thing as running in manual.

    Thanks Harvey and Oldmountvernon you have added years to the wedding bliss.....;)
  19. Greg Omagh

    Greg Omagh New Member

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    That sounds like my rate. With these settings I definitely see how you could get 74F and -1 now. If i had to burn 4 1/2 bags a day I might as well go back to oil. This morning I was 72F in the family room and 68F in the kitchen. My set point is 71F, but until now I only hit then when it's in the 40s outside. This is really awesome now though. Happy families. ==c
  20. kinsmanstoves

    kinsmanstoves Minister of Fire

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    So you are burning a bag a day that equals approx 26,666 BTUs per hour. That is a 60,000 btu stove so you are running slightly below 1/2 power.

    Eric


    ****edit my bad, I read it wrong*** still working on the first cup of coffee.
  21. JoeS

    JoeS Feeling the Heat

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    This just didn't seem right to me how can the flame height not change or actually get lower going from -4 to + 2 setting? So I tried it and now I'm with you, very confused. Since I purchased this stove I always thought that you needed to keep the flame height down. I have always run on -4 to -5 flame height. I'll keep experimenting but I think just maybe I have been going about this the wrong way.
  22. JoeS

    JoeS Feeling the Heat

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    I do need more heat but I thought I was already maxing out the stove. It just didn't make sense to me to turn up the flame height if my flame was already at the top of the baffle plate. This is just counter to everything the manual tells you and most advice you get.
  23. Harvey Schneider

    Harvey Schneider Minister of Fire

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    Burning in manual and +4 flame height I burned a bag of GT's in 11 hours. Most of that was just after 7 AM when the thermostat setting jumps from 65 to 70.

    I was expecting the chimney sweep this morning, so I thought that it would be a good time to clean my combustion blower. Quadrafire suggests cleaning it every 3 tons of pellets and I've burned about 3 1/2 tons. So I pulled the combustion blower and I was surprised at how clean it was.

    IMG_1752.JPG


    I brushed the thin coat of ash off the impeller, but I didn't feel as though I was accomplishing anything. I reached into the passage from the fire chamber to the blower and it was in similar condition and finally I checked the blower output port which was absolutely spotless.
    I have burned junk pellets (inferno's) and better pellets (Lignetics, Greene Team's). I am guessing that burning hot has kept this stove (insert) clean.
  24. kinsmanstoves

    kinsmanstoves Minister of Fire

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    ^^ Gotta love a Quad
  25. Greg Omagh

    Greg Omagh New Member

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    Quick update.

    Yesterday morning it was 68F on LGs vs 72F on Blazers (12F v 10F outside), with exactly the same settings (4, FH +2). I upped the FH to 4 and it started to put out the heat again.

    Last night I switched to Vermonts, and this morning it was 74F (4, FH +2). It's 21F outside, so I've lost my comparison and by the looks of things this week will be a low burn week.

    Still, it's a pity we wasted 1/3 of the winter dicking around on the wrong setting. I am pretty sure I could get any brand to put out the heat (thanks to this thread), but I loved the Blazers. Whether that love is $50 / ton worth, I don't know. Maybe I'd get 1/2 ton for cold Feb days and burn Vermonts for the rest of the season.
    Thaddius Wenderoth likes this.

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