Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by BurningIsLove, Nov 16, 2007.
Were would I be pointing the IR? Inside the firebox (through the glass)?
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Somewhere that isn't double-insulated like a side. Inside the firebox will be way outside the range of an IR thermometer. After dnloading the manual for your stove, maybe that flat metal area above the front glass?
Again, its not really the temp that you should be interested in (outside of safety of course) if it's effectively heating the space you want it to. Are the emissions coming out of your stack clean or sooty? Are you getting the long burn times when dampered down? Whats the creosote buildup like in the stack?
This thread is only temp-heavy because we're not getting the clean burns, and the amount of creosote in my chimney this year was more than I think should be for a modern stove. If the stove operated well consistently, I'm wiling to bet it would be a much cleaner stack.
I have some of the same issues that you lot are having. Only they are not as frequent for me. My wood is not fully seasoned. I purchased seasoned wood that had just been split two weeks prior. Before that it was cord length unsplit for two years supposedly. I only get the dropping temps after kicking in if a) haven't established a bed of coals b) didn't let the new splits come up to temp before kicking in. Most times I get it right and I see no smoke at all. Just heat waves. Like hot ash fault in the summer. I do agree that it takes a little too much effort though. I now wish I had gone with a cat stove. Only before I knew any better. Everyone would preach about how bad they are. Of course I fell for that. I believed the statement that the cat was a band aid for a poorly engineered stove.
I haven't thrown in the towel yet though. After all I am getting over night burns with not just coals left in the morning but rather charcoal logs that if broken up quickly start to glow and after ten minutes with some fresh splits I am after burning. Its just the cold starts that are a pita.
^^^DITTO. I am still thinking of rebuilding my CAT stove and putting it back in. Before I do that, I want to see what happens when the temps get cold consistently. I think if VC doesn't do something about this, they are going to undo their brand name; too bad. But for me, this is a very expensive lesson. I not only had to pay all that money, but I hurt my back getting the 580 pound monster in... My biggest problem at this point is the Everburn stalling out. It will be interesting to see how we all make out as the season progresses, and what sharing our input with CFM-VC/DW accomplishes. Oh, one more thing, I am still thinking of giving it a little more secondary air by enlarging the secondary air siphon holes a "very" little.
Considering what the others have mentioned about there stoves going "thermonuclear" I would think this is not a good idea. Besides that it was engineered the way it is for a reason. I am sure if getting it to burn easily was just a matter of more/larger air holes it would have been done. That said I am a tinkerer and understand you wanting to try this. As long as it can be reversed should it not work, and you are willing to take a chance on a runaway fire that could ruin your stove. Hey why not.
Again, I do not have the same stove as you. What I am thinking about doing is getting lots of kindling and smaller splits in order to get a hot coal bed ASAP. That and some "real" seasoned fire wood should do the trick.
Yes, I understand. My problem is the secondary stalls out on me all the time. I think it is due to the outside temp and my installations specific config. I'm not ready to drill yet, but when it is in the teens outside that might be different. (we are in Litchfield County so that may be fairly soon.
My wood is 3 seasons old and mostly Oak, Maple, etc. Yes, the tinkerer thing is big in me. I figure in this real world environment, I can engineer a solution. However, my solution may be to pass the Everburn on to someone else and go for a different technology stove that burns clean without so much trouble: Burn tubes, CAT, whatever.
My biggest problem is I need a cast stove that looks old fashioned to fit in with our home. I haven't given up on woodburning for 40 years, so I'm sure I'll find a soulution. Hopefully before I get too much creosote in my stack.
Thanks for the kind thoughts.
Just to clarify. The comment regarding seasoned fire wood was referring to my wood. I purchased wood that was supposed to be seasoned but, it is not.
No problem. I had that a few years ago. That's when I started to work my wood a year ahead or so. If you have any seasoned wood, that previous post about mixing the dry with the less seasoned wood is a great idea. I did it that year and it worked very well. It'd take a bit longer to get up to temp. but my burn time was longer and since I had a CAT stove at the time, it burned it clean.
I also recommend you dont make such a modification to the stove. Those 'thermonuclear' instances can be VERY unnerving. From my experience, I'd rather have more inefficient burns than risk burning down the house. I'm also not convinced that the source of our problems with the design are related to those holes in the firebox, there could very well be other ramifications to enlarging them.
When the temps get consistently cold, you'll find that downdraft stoves work more consistently and with less effort.
Another point to consider, where does your stove get its air from? If you dont have a direct outside air vent, is there a source of fresh air nearby? My connecting door to the garage is near my stove, and I find that it works better with that door open as the stove pulls in a lot of air along the bottom from the garage. It's a nice system because the convection blows hot air out the top of the door and keeps the garage toasty warm. Nothing better than a 60 degree vehicle at 4AM when it's 15 degrees outside.
Yes, I know I should not enlarge holes; I'm just frustrated at paying big bucks for the "top of the line" and then getting nothing but problems. My air feed is from the room, but it is a very big room and I have even operated with the door right next to it open. For now, I'm just continuing to "get to know" the Defiant. I think I'm spoiled from having the CAT version of this stove. It was easy for everyone in the house to use, always burned clean and the only problem I had was a little puff back when damped way down on a cold night.
Moral of the story, don't worry be happy. I'm just going to wait to see what happens when it actually gets cold before I do much of anything but burn a little.
Interesting that this is still an issue. All of the talk about "stalling" is bringing back memories that I'd rather forget. I remember with my non-cat dutchwest, I'd have what appeared to be a perfect fire going, rumble and all, no smoke from the stack. I'd watch for 20 minutes to be sure, go to bed, and get up a couple hours later to find the stove "stalled" and smoke pouring out the chimney. I'm still a HUGE advocate of catalytics - expecially the dutchwest. I'm interested to see how opinions changes throughout this season. Seems more and more like if you don't have a PERFECT setup, you're going to have problems. And I'm thinking that there are less of us with perfect setups than those that do.
I think my stove can read this forum and has been humiliated into submission to my will....it's been working like a champ the last few days w/ the cold nights (25 and under). Tougher during the day when it's warmer (35-45). Had a few stalls, but letting it burn down an extra 15 minutes then some strikes w/ the poker to collapse the bed has worked effectively. Been getting clean burn times in excess of 10 hours.
Yes, I anthropomorphize my stove......
No kidding - I find that most mechanical things will eventually SUBMIT to your will. The way I look at it, they understand you are not going to give up, so they capitulate sooner rather than later, thereby saving face.
Coal stoves are very draft dependent don't even think of starting them till temps fall below 40 to many that could be 30. To achieve effeciency draft has to be reduced. keeping heat in longer,
Could it be these stoves no not work well in warmer weather or as on and off situations? but come to life when its cold to promote stronger drafts?
So would it be completely insane to try to add a cat to these stoves? With the dutchwest in particular, it doesn't look like it would be very hard to do. The nice thing about it is that it would almost be like having the best of both worlds - when the "everburn" combustion is working, the cat won't have anything to burn, when everburn isn't working, the cat will be firing - maybe the cat will last twice as long as it would otherwise. Such a modification would probably void your warranty not to mention the stove wouldn't be technically UL listed anymore, but I really don't see how or why it would be a safety issue. It would not require any drilling or any real changes to the existing stove at all based on my vision of it - the cat could be inserted below the flue collar near the top of the ceramic lined secondary combustion chamber area where secondary combustion exhaust only flows after dampering down. Not sure there is really enough room for it though, would have to measure it and see what cats, if any, could fit in that space... I figure the worst that could happen is that it just doesn't work and I undo the change.
p.s. I too am looking forward to seeing this everburn DVD Elk mentioned - please keep us updated, I would love a copy although I have serious doubts that it will contain anything that we don't already know! I'm picturing lots of timelaspes - wow how'd that 3 inch coal bed get there?
We can only hope that is the case Elk!
It just occurred to me all stoves stall secondary combustion when the temperatures fall below the ignition point of smoke. whether you have top tubes or secondary combustion chambers
its an on off proposition as temperatures fluctuate in the fire box. Now I am starting to understand why the deep bed of coals is needed to keep generating heat in the fire box
I think some of the issues is weaker draft this time of year I also think the primary air control is cut back to much in weaker draft situations and when it stalls it is telling you it really needs more combustion air add it I bet it starts again.. I notice wood quality I need more primary air in this part of the w burning season. last night upper 20 again I grabed wood seasoned one year
I had to open the air up a bit more and waite a bit longer before engaging secondary combustion. I'm so spoiled using 3 year old seasoned wood I forgot what it was like to use only 1 year seasoned wood. Much harder to obtain results the stove does not function nearly as responsive. The difference is really noticable.
For those that were used to the cat models I see where the fustrations exist the ability for secondary combustion to happen at only 500 degrees and not the on off of temps flutuating around 1100. It really is a lot easier to maintain secondary combustion needing only 500 degrees
Here we go again The fact of the matter is that no matter how much advice someone has about the neverburn system, there appear to many applications for which this system won't work. We can sit here and talk about coal beds, draft, seasoned wood, outside temperature, etc, etc, but the fact of the matter is these neverburn stoves appear to need "perfect" conditions to work. Apparently, I don't have "perfect" condidtions, and neither do many (if not most) other people. Nor do I always have time to rush in to get fresh wood on before the required 6" coal bed burns down 1/4" too much, necessitating a complete cold start procedure.
My biggest complaint about this system is the fact that it took almost 24/7 babysitting to even get it to work right a fraction of the time. My dutchwest catalytic? Very few problems, worked like a charm. My new Hearthstone Heritage? Same thing. The DW NC? A complete PITA.
What I think many people are missing that say "thousands of these stoves have been sold and no complaints" is that MOST people don't really give a crap if there's smoke billowing out of the chimney. If the stove's putting out heat, it's working fine. Those of us participating in these forums obviously look at that sort of thing, but we are just a tiny fraction of those thousands of NC stoves sold. I'm all for new technology, but this neverburn thing seems to be a step backwards.
The last part of Mike's post hit on something I had been thinking of for some time.....
The general purpose of the Everburn system is to be more environment friendly? If thats a correct statement, then for the majority of people burning wood the mentality Im sure is....WHO CARES? Most people, I believe, are burning wood for heating their home for less money than the dreaded oil. I purchased a new wood stove for heat number one. If it heats my house and my furnace stays off or only on for a fraction of the time, then my goal has been achieved....if I produce less smoke then that is a bonus.....
As far as my Everburn system on my Defiant. I follow all the tips Ive gotten from people here and I DO get the rumble and it seems to be ok, but I WILL NOT stay up all night checking and babysitting it to see if it stays. Nor do I care if the rumble stays all day long while Im at work, cannot control that. I come home and my house is at 70+ after burning all day and Im a happy camper. To the birds outside coughing and choking, sorry bout that!
I keep my chimney clean and follow the directions to the best of my ability. Thats all I can do If I was to find there was a flaw that VC created, Id be on their tail to fix it but no one has been able to prove it yet. I suspect Mike is correct on the conditions needing to be perfect and few people are perfect.
OK, sorry for the rant, thats all folks!
Elk, I always start (or try to start) the secondary combustion w/ full primary air. I don't damper down until after about 2 minutes or until I'm positive that reducing air wont stall. Shoot for a really aggressive fire on full air, get a bunch of gases building up before closing the bypass. Granted, a lot of the gasesare shooting up the bypass before it closes, but the instant you close it, there should be a whole bunch in the firebox that now have to reverse direction through the coal bed and jump start the secondary. The danger of the above process is that is you have really seasoned wood, cool outdoor temps, good drafting, etc, it can lead to a run-away (thermonuclear) almost immediately. I judge based on the intensity of the rumble. If it's REALLY loud, I damper down instantly after closing the bypass and secondary combustion nearly always continues properly.
Definitely agree that varying quality of wood (species, dryness, etc) will influence the chances of achieving good secondary combustion, but other factors (especially drafting) seem to play a greater role w/ this stove. An insufficient draft means less air is being pulled in, and that can be the same as dampering down too early and starving the fire, causing the infamous stall. Since draft is related to outdoor temperature, I'm coming to the conclusion that this design of downdraft doesn't work unless outside temps are below freezing.
Another difference we have in perception - I've always thought "thermonuclear" was the goal, not something to avoid!
I don't consider going "thermonuclear" the same as "run away". Basically what I mean by thermonuclear is CONTINUOUS, uninterrupted, sustained, secondary combustion which is also always accompanied by a high but stable internal flue temp of around 800 F. It should not (and does not on my stove) keep climbing to higher temps than that (can be higher at first but should settle down quickly, within 15 minutes or so). If temps keep climbing I'd say it was strong evidence of a leak in your stove (probably a loose door gasket).
As for Elk's comment "all stoves stall secondary combustion when the temperatures fall below the ignition point of smoke" - yes, of course, so the question is, where should secondary combustion occur for optimal overall results? Are you going to get higher temperatures inside the firebox or higher temperatures in a secondary zone OUTSIDE of the firebox? Hmmm, this is a good question - I assume VC has done the research, something to ask your chief engineer contact. Of course there are some benefits (at least in theory anyway) to the downdraft design - specifically the "horizontal combustion" idea which should give you longer burn times. The theory sounds good, but I'd love to see some scientific data to support the claims...
It would probably be best to get the down drafting design + cat, the advantages of horizontal combustion (long burn times) and secondary combustion happening at 500 degrees instead of 1100 degrees.
As for the guy who doesn't care about emissions - yea, sad truth is that you are probably like the majority of stove owners out there. But the fact is, lower emissions = more BTUs captured from the wood = more heat. So its NOT only about the environment. But to me anyway, the environmental impact is very important. You apologized to the birds - what about your neighbors? What about the people that get ticked off by a lot of smoke in the air they are breathing and then they organize political campaigns to take away your right to burn? Also, even though you might not smell it, you are breathing those emissions you are dumping out all around your house, if you can smell it when you go outside that means any air coming into your house (EVERY house has SOME ventilation) is also carrying at least some small amount of those emissions.
Tradergordo et. al.,
I should apologize and clarify.....I was spouting off more than anything. I have been working with others on the board here since before I even had my stove installed to learn ahead of time the proper procedures and to now get MY VC Everburn to work properly. I purchased it before I found this site. I certainly care about the environment and want my stove to work as it is intended. The more bang I can get from my wood the better! I was more adding to the comment by Mike about the majority of the owners out there. Its not that I dont care about emissions, but as I said, I dont have the time to stand and babysit. I work the procedure the best I can and hope for the best and once Im in bed or gone to work, it is what it is. When Im home on weekends and can be around to watch it, I work with it.
But, to comment on your statements about neighbors, where Im from here in VT you go down the road to work and almost all of the houses have a wood chimney spewing smoke and more and more Im seeing now have the outdoor wood boilers just chugging out the smoke as well. You go out for a walk in the woods or out hunting and you can tell when you are close to a house or camp as you pick up the smell of wood smoke right off. Really, the only people that complain about such things around here are the transplants from the cities who came from the smog and pollution in the first place!
I'm gathering information Can you supply your burn times with these stoves based on a full load of wood and also the model and fire box size if you know it.
also indicate the type of wood and guesstimate its seasoning / dryness
Regarding stalling and problems associated with the everburn system: When the everburn "stalls", it smokes profusely. When a catalytic "stalls", it backpuffs into your room, letting you know there's a problem (but still gives you smoke-free stack). My Heritage - it doesn't stall, you just burn it a little hotter, and it gives you relatively smoke-free emissions. My point: temperature and pressure differentials associated with spring/fall conditions has only been an issue with the everburn stove, none of the others.
I have had three different stoves on the exact same chimney. The only one that gave me consistently poor results was the everburn. I am talking aobut being user friendly, efficient, and environmentally friendly. The everburn wasn't any of these - with all of the smoke going up the chimney 80% of the time, you're also losing the high claimed efficiency. So, that said, what's up? I remember the VC tech support guys telling me the "rumble" was overfiring. The manual was no help. I couldn't find ANYONE that knew how the stove was supposed to operate - dealers, manufacturer, etc. The people who knew weren't accessible.
I feel bad for those going through this. It was initially a challenge, and then after three months, I decided it wasn't worth it, traded my DW NC on a heritage, and now my wife, two cats, and dog can operate it. My heritage doesn't care if the wood is seasoned for 6 months or 3 years - it STILL works fine. I find it hard to believe that VC people still apparently aren't really trying to help people figure this stuff out. What's up??
Mike the same burn technology is being employed in the harman oakwoood and now 2 or more lopi stoves the first was the Lopi Leyden.
Its not just Vc but how to deal with the technology of these stoves, how to simply and get consistent results
everburn is Vc coin for the technology fire dome is Harman I don't know what Lopi is calling it. All three companies licensed the use of this technology
Separate names with a comma.