Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by BurningIsLove, Nov 16, 2007.
Because if you burned the way they do in the EPA test you would void your warranty.
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Hi Mike, I don't think any comments were directed to you.
I have a great idea, why don't we get UCLA to put together a course on how to use the Everburn technology and then we can make a deal with Home Depot to provide delivery of dried douglas fir that isn't usable as lumber and then we can call NASA and get them to change the weather so the atmospheric pressure is constant and then we can....oh heck; let's just use different stoves.
On a serious note I went out today and looked at the Harman, it has a larger secondary chamber opening; but the dealer said they are also touchy.
We also got into a discussion on the EPA sandards. He thought that (Elk you most likely know about this) the EPA was going to continue to stiffen standards and that as an industry we are going to have to move toward something that performs better than burn tubes. That is where CFM VC/DW must be trying to go. I am not sure they will get there if they don't take care of folks like you and me. Its the old thing, please someone and they'll tell 10 people, provide a bad product and worse support and that same person will tell everyone forever.
I'm going to hang on to this thing while Elk is doing his testing, and I'm going to participate to the extent I can. I love the "look" of this stove. But, like you I'm not going to spend all my waking free time futzing with it so I get a clean burn. I am all about heating with wood and not getting creosote in my chimney; I can burn a little more wood if I need to, or a little less as long as it is clean and hot that's fine.
CFM-VC/DW owes us all (who purchased this technology) a fix for this problem. As you pointed out, and Elk intrinsically knows, the fix is most likely a tweak here and there. But, they need to figure it out, now and get it to all users of the stove. Or there won't be any question about their long term viablility. The cash they have will be taken away by class action ;-) and their future sales will be ended by their own inaction.
In the meantime, you have the best of all worlds. You can watch it happening and at the same time, you don't have to live with it.
If I were to use dried DF 2x4's and I have. I would have no trouble archiving your above goals. In fact I am sure I could do it in less than 40 min. startup time. Trouble is I would quickly run out of 2x4 scraps. As soon as I get a splitter I am going to be making as much kindling/small splits as I can. I think that will put my troubles to bed.
By the way. My stove will rumble If I get the chimney good and hot but as soon as it starts to cool down the rumble goes down proportionately until you can no longer hear it. That will typically take less that 10 min. However I will still be getting a clean burn. I can sustain the rumble as long as I like by burning the stove very hot (over 575). But it will gobble up my load pretty quickly above those temps and shortly blow me out of the room.
The new standards of GPh are already set. Non cat from like 7.6 to 4.6 gph and cat from 4.2 to 2.5 about a 40% reduction. These standards have already been adopted in the state of
Hmmm... I don't know what the results would be, but if the stove is EPA certified, then the test records SHOULD be publicly available - I wonder what would happen if one were to submit a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request to the EPA asking for the test records... I'm NOT volunteering to do so, but it might be worth it for one of those more involved.
Trader and others....
I have posted this before, but it is my understanding that most EPA tests are performed at the manufacturers facility using the manufacturers technicians. It is witnessed either directly (attended) or by a video and perhaps data hookup.
Among the reasons that the Labs (the white papers, etc.) say EPA numbers do not reflect the real world:
1. Douglas fit 2x4 and 4x4 with spacer nailed around them is the fuel
2. The technicians tending the fire are VERY familiar with the stove and have flexibility in exactly how to stir the coal and place the new wood.
3. The technicians have burned the exact stuff in "dummy" tests for weeks or months, so it is certainly different than you or I or anyone else loading it.
4. There is also flexibility with the air control settings, such as how long they can be kept open after reload, etc.
5. The BTU range a stove is tested at can also be set by the maker, as long as there are 4 burn levels and the lowest is below a certain threshold.
Goose, the records and logs will do you no good at all, because I do not think the problems lie with fraud, but with the above allowances.
If a bunch of engineers, computer programmers and other logical and smart folks cannot learn it, I'm not even gonna attempt to test it on my wife!
I'd be pretty shocked if the EPA testing was done at the manufacturers facility using the manufacturers technicians - that can't be right. But the EPA procedure doc does say the manufacturer can specify a LOT of operational detail to the test lab. That is one reason I want to obtain the full test report - it has to include all of this operational detail from the manufacturer, plus it will contain stove surface temp data for the duration of the test - this info should offer at least of glimpse of what CFM intends for real world operation even if no one in the real world is burning 2x4 dry pine lumber nailed together with spacers for perfect air flow
I will definitely follow up with the EPA to obtain those documents and report back here what I find.
Thanks, that info will be really insightful. Elk's effort (I hope to help too) to work on a real world situation should also lend insight. I've pretty much made up my mind to hang in there iwth the Definat NC just for this effort. I am honestly hoping that working with the CFM folks will net a fix for the problem. Next year, we'll see. If my liner gets too laden with creosote, I'm going to line it with SS which is a good idea for the long run anyway.
The big thing here is "have the stoves with ceramic secondary chambers been engineered for everyday use by everyday people with everyday conditions?" Honestly, I think we know the answer; but what the heck, a little activity is always fun.
As for the secondary tube type stoves, I've no personal experience but have spent some time looking at them. They seem to work far more efficiently and reliably. Yesterday I was watching someone using a Jotul; straight forward, warm clean burn and the secondaries engaged instantly when the lever was flipped.
Well, here in CT is it 60 and we don't have a fire going. I'm going to take a moment to clean it out, take a quick look at the stack and forget it for today.
I have a lot to be thankful for today and wish you:
Happy Thanksgiving Day to one and all!!
Whether the final tests are performed and witnessed at the makers or at the test lab, here are some selected conclusions of the EPA's own contracted studies. Please remember that the test lab works for and profits from the manufacturer, NOT from the EPA. Even in my limited experience, these lab technicians are more than willing to "work" with the companies that hire them!
Quoted materials all below:
Performance of the EPA NSPS wood stove operating procedures has been described as an art. A technician, skillful in manipulating parameters within the specifications of Method 28, can influence test results significantly.
1. It is also generally recognized that with the current Method 28, there are many ways to affect burn cycle patterns and results while staying within the required Method 28 operating and fueling
specifications. These include:
Using higher or lower average moisture content fuel loads ranging from 19% to
25% (dry basis) to increase or decrease burn rates and/or emissions rates,
Placing higher or lower moisture content fuel pieces at different locations within
the firebox (e.g., bottom/top or back/front) to control the timing, location, and
temperature regimes of pyrolysis products and volatile gas releases into secondary
Placing higher or lower fuel density pieces at different locations within the firebox
to control the timing, location, and temperature regimes of pyrolysis products and
volatile gas releases into secondary combustion zones. There are no Method 28
fuel density specifications and Douglas fir wood densities vary up to 60% from
low to high density fuel pieces,
Starting the test at the high or low end of the allowed coal-bed size range (i.e.,
20% to 25% of the test fuel load weight) to affect the start-up pattern and the
ultimate average burn rate and emissions characteristics for the fuel load,
Starting the test at high or low average firebox/stove temperatures which also
affects the start-up pattern and ultimately the average burn rate for the fuel load.
The desired relative firebox/stove temperature can be obtained by both managing
how much of the coal bed is present at test start-up and managing how the stove is
operated before the required one-hour, no-adjustment pre-burn period is started,
Using fuel load weights at the high or low end of the Method-28-allowed fuel
weight limits (i.e., 7 pounds per cubic foot of firebox volume, plus or minus 10%).
Fuel load weight differences of 10% can affect burn rates and measured emissions
rates. It is well known that smaller fuel loads produce lower emissions rates at any
The EPA NSPS wood stove operating procedure (i.e., Method 28) does not represent
the“real world” use of wood stoves. Wood stoves are designed, out of necessity, to pass
the certification test and consequently, their design is not necessarily optimal for low
emission performance under actual in-home use. Similarly, the emissions values obtained
from EPA NSPS certification is only roughly predictive of emissions under in-home use.
Yea, I noticed all of those ways of manipulating the results when I was reading the Method 28 doc. There definitely seems to be some conflicts of interest between the test labs and the manufacturers (which has actually led to outright fraud in the past but hopefully that was an isolated incident).
I think the test is close to being reasonable, they just need to tweak a few things, they need to burn a type of wood that is commonly used in the real world, with very tight specifications on moisture content (which should also be representative of real world burning) and charge load weights, and they should also be more specific when it comes to pre-test burning and the ratio of initial coal bed weight to test charge weight. And of course they need to find a way to eliminate the conflicts of interest.
Its not like they are doing thousands of tests, how many new stoves come out every year? I don't see why the EPA couldn't handle the testing themselves, using less biased technicians, and supplying the test wood themselves with near perfect uniformity in density, weight, and moisture (it would be stored in humidity controlled environment until used).
The above is true with everything from medications to medical "boards", etc.
EPA really does not know much. Instead, they hire "experts" that include the same engineers who design the stoves....and the trade groups, etc. - They all sit around and argue about what is cool until they come to a settlement. That is how most regulation works these days.
Yes, they could radically change the procedure by simply not testing at the manufacturers test lab and having a non-technician do the loading and coal stirring, with only basic direction from the lab folks.
The amazing thing is that all this crap (above) did not really come up too much as long as stoves performed well in the field. That is what people really care about. So I am starting to put together (in my head) the concept of a "test lab" that DOES NOT try to duplicate EPA, but rather uses both instrumentation AND user experience to "rate" wood stoves. I use the word "rate" in quotes because it would be the rating of two or three people who fiddled with the stoves, but at the same time I think that having installed and sold over 10,000 units over almost 30 years, I do know what is "good" and what is "not so good".
After all, what the heck am I going to prove by burning 2x4's with spacers?
AMEN..to all of that, the point is we need stoves that work in real world conditions, are safe, emit little and Look Good, Work Fine, Last a Long time.... Perhaps when this type LAB becomes standard, Product designers will have to respond because if they don't they will be with some of the units we are now trying to use now: unemployed....
caLL THIS EQUAL OPPERTUNITY IF WE CAN DISCUSS tHR VARIABLES IN TESTING SO CAN THE ENGINEERS AND TESTING TECHS (SORRY HIT CAPS)
I call this a level playing field.. Each manufacture has the same regs to work with same variables of loading and spacing and moisture contain. So why does stove test below one GPH and another test above 3.5 or more? Each has the same fudge factors. Each can have the test preformed in their own labs, with their own techs. If their tech can't tweak lower GPH's then what chance do we have in the field? Another error the test have to be witnessed in person by a qualified agent certified by the EPA. There is no video videoconferencing test. Where did that come from? I'd like the person that came up with that, supply concrete evidence this has occurred. I still have a few contacts in the EPa. I would forward this info. I am sure they would be real interested investigating that. So my point remains the same, if their own techs can't make their stove burn cleaner, then us user can't either.
I'm trying to get that point.........
The material quoted is FROM the EPA. THEY are the ones that say that the test is an "art", not a science. They say it is subject to manipulation by folks who are "practiced" technicians. So, you are saying that means the customer should be assured this results in an easy to use stove?
Sounds like that TV commercial where a doctors is giving instructions to a fella on how to remove his own appendix!
The proof is ALWAYS in the pudding, and the pudding is the stove in the customer house(s).
We are all very easily fooled. Back in the early days when stove makers were popping up every week, I visited a new company about 10 miles from my house that made fireplace inserts. I bought a few of them to sell, and installed one into my fireplace. I really WANTED to like it, but it didn't seem to put out any heat! So I worked carefully with it - and within a week or so I had convinced myself this was a decent unit. I was sticking my face about 1 foot in front of the blower output and it felt really warm!
Bottom line, as folks can guess, I yanked the thing out after a couple weeks. I had already had "real" stoves like the Upland 107 in my fireplace, and this thing just was not going to do the job!
I don't want to go back to the EPA debate, because we have expended thousands of words on that, and it does not help these folks at all with the burning of their stoves. But I hope we can all agree that there is a need for more types of real world testings, including both cordwood and "destructive" tests. That is the opinion of EPA as of now, and it is an opinion I share. Stove makers will fight it, because any regulation means more $$ spent for them....so it may have to be done independently.
The Epa is not concerned about destructive testing that is the Job of UL I witnessed a 3 lb steel ball smacking into the glass door I would call that one example of destructive testing EPa is only concerned about efficiency and clean burning Two different agencies governing stove testing. Again if you have concrete evidence of videoconferencing in results please provide them.
Read the documents. The EPA is VERY concerned about destructive testing because the stoves in the field perform worse and worse as baffles, bypasses, cat holders and other stove parts age. This is their conclusion, and also their summary.....that stoves actually degrade much faster than they should (the EPA parts).
The EPA claims that there is no impetus (reason) for manufacturers to do more destructive testing since only brand new models are tested to the EPA spec.
I believe I read a while ago (would have to hunt for the source) that the margin of error is something like 3 g/hr (might even be higher than that) so statistically speaking you can't really say the stove that showed 3.5 g/hr is definitely less clean than the one that tested at 2 g/hr. But even ignoring that - I disagree with you that its a level playing field. What if one particular design happens to get an exceptionally low emissions number when you've piled up a huge coal bed (completely IGNORING ALL EMISSIONS while you build this coal bed!) and you are burning dry douglas fir. Another stove gets pretty good emissions too burning dry douglas fir, but its a totally different design, does not require two hours of dirty pre-test burning, and it burns much cleaner on average in the real world with mixed hardwoods of 20-30% moisture content when the other stove with the lower official EPA emissions number tends to have significantly higher % of "dirty" burntime. Is this really a level playing field?
Should all the stove manufacturers adopt the design that gets the lower official EPA g/hr test result even if the stove doesn't get the best real world emissions?
This of course is all hypothetically speaking as no one is actively measuring real world emissions so we don't really know which stoves have the best numbers OR how those real world numbers compare to the EPA test numbers. Closest thing we have to this is a very small, not particularly well controlled, and now somewhat out of date study from Omni test labs.
Same as with cars, EPA tests are just a guideline, not gospel. Your mileage may vary.
I tend to agree... There may be a value in the "level playing field" Douglas Fir test, but IMHO there should also be a "Real World Test" requirement - I'm not sure just how to design it, but I would probably attempt to say something to the effect of
1. Using cordwood* cut and split to the dimension specifications given in the owners manual, plus tinder or other fire-starting materials as specified in the manual, and following the procedures in the manual, a test technician, (NOT a manufacturers employee) shall build a fire in the stove, and prepare it for a maximum length burn. ALL fuel loading and stove adjustments shall be completed within one hour from the time the cold stove is first fired. NO PROCEDURE NOT SPECIFIED IN THE OWNERS MANUAL (or other instructional material supplied with the stove) MAY BE USED!
2. The heat output of the stove and the time from the last addition of fuel until the stove temperature (monitored at the point specified in the owners manual) drops below 300*F shall be monitored. The stove must deliver at least ##% of the heat output specified in the stove literature or manual, and burn for ##% of the time advertised. (They may exceed the manual specifications)
3. The emissions from the stove shall be monitored from 90 minutes after the test starts until the end of the test as specified in #2. They shall not exceed the emissions recorded in the Douglas Fir test by more than ##%
4. There shall be two? series of tests, each series shall consist of not less than eight, or more than ten test fires. If more than eight test fires are made, the manufacturer may optionally discard the results from the worst, and / or the best test performance. The remaining eight tests shall show no more than a 5% variation in results. One series shall use a hardwood fuel, and one series shall use a softwood fuel.
*The cordwood should be a defined species - perhaps Red Oak and some flavor of Pine, with a moisture content of not less than 18% nor more than 25%, bark not removed (OK if it falls off?)
##'s are variables, I'm not sure just what they should be, but it should be close.
I figure that this should keep everybody fairly honest - #1 gets rid of the skilled operator factor, and ensures that the manual contains good instructions. It also requires that the process not require a great deal of babysitting - you have one hour to get the stove in shape for a long burn, then walk away and watch... #2 Gets the advertising claims under control - the stove has to deliver what it claims for both heat ouput and burn time - Since the manufacturer is going to want to maximize those numbers, they will need to stuff the firebox - this discourages under-loading to get the emissions down. #3 keeps the emmissions side honest - you have to put out a real world result that matches what you get in the test lab, so no more tuning for the test load... 4. Says you have to be able to be consistent, but also allows for unusually bad (or good) results...
What do you think?
The difference is that while EPA car tests don't match reality, we DO have a pretty decent idea of how to "map" EPA results to the "real world" such that we can look at a car's test results and say "EPA says X mpg, I should really expect to get Y mpg" and then find that what you see at the pump matches your expectation within a mile or two... You can also tell very easily what your actual mileage is - a lot of modern cars will even figure it out for you :coolhmm: Most modern cars also do a pretty good job of monitoring their emissions and will tell you if they get to far out of spec...
But with stoves, other than the comparatively crude measurements of "how much wood do I put in" - which I doubt if anybody measures all that closely, I know I don't, and "What do I see coming out the chimney" - again, no real instruments, and no really constant monitoring - how many of us can see what the stack is doing from inside the house? We have NO WAY of telling what our "mileage" is...
So how do I tell if my stove's mileage is varying when I can't even determine what it is to begin with? Some ways I'm glad they don't, and I probably shouldn't say anything that would give the EPA any ideas, but it would seem like it ought to be possible to instrument a wood stove to some degree the same way they do our cars - if the stove is properly setup, you have a known number of places where air goes in, why not put a flow sensor to monitor air consumption, and an O2 sensor (or something like that) at the flue outlet to see what's coming out the exhaust... Just as long as they don't give me a "Check Stove" light!
You guys are just begging to have to haul your stoves to a test station once a year for emissions testing!
i know up here in MASS that would definitely happen
haul your stove in pay 75 bucks to get a meatl sticker on it!
and every 2yrs check the stove for safety
imagine failing???? i can see a lot of stoves getting left
OH My GOD, it is getting very complex. How about: Stove manufacturers are required to provide clean burning stoves, xxxx GPH which must function in a straigh forward manner; testing technicians will be 17 year olds.(they are usually the first home)
Just what I need.......yet ANOTHER Massachusetts inspection that costs the consumer money yet doesnt really tell you much because the testers dont give a whoop and the administration responsible for overseeing the tests are full of corruption. Thank goodness this is MA and not CA, those people are just plain crazy (referring to the lawmakers, not the residents, no offense intended).
The last time I brought in my 1979 Bronco for inspection, the guy did no tests outside of me honking the horn, no emissions, reverse, or other tests. His response "Well, it drove in here under its own power, didnt it? It passes" Just like airport TSA screeners, it's not about consistent policy, it's whatever they feel like testing, not what they are supposed to.
I just purchased this stove and I seem to be finding your procedure alot and I would like to try it but I have a few questions. Thank you in advance if you have the time to answer them.
Here is the procedure that I follow once the stove (Dutchwest 2479 everburn) is up to temp and needs to be reloaded:
1) Open bypass - What is the Bypass?
2) poke residual logs to collapse into coals (if necessary). Needs a good 2+” of coals, so plan accordingly
3) load fresh splits (see note below on orientation)
4) open air inlet 100% for about 10-15 minutes or until fire is very active (about 475 on the flu connector magnetic thermometer) - So does this mean the air inlet is closed when you load the wood?
5) Damper down to about 1/3 air and let burn for another 10 minutes. This reduces wasteful burning that is just rocketing right up the chimney, but is necessary to pre-heat the new splits on the top - How can you "damper down" to 1/3 when the damper is either open or closed?
6) Open air inlet to 100% again for about 2 minutes to get an active fire again - Open air inlet to 100%, when do you close it?
7) Close bypass/engage everburn. - What is the bypass? the damper or the air inlet lever or something else I don't know about?
8) If rumble persists, temps are good, smoke-free at the top of the stack, I damper down to about 3/4 then 1/2 then 1/4. - How, by damper down, are you talking about the damper or the air inlet lever?
If the everburn “stalls”, it means that the coals weren't oriented right, there weren’t enough of them, or the fresh splits weren't ‘ready’ for that stage yet. All the above assumes dry, seasoned hardwood. Also, I have a thick masonry chimney which has to be properly heated before it drafts well enough to use everburn. This takes about 2 hours in my set up.
Also, when the drafting is good and outdoor temps are low, lately I’ve been experimenting with the following to reduce ‘thermonuclear’ incidents. A freshly loaded stove holds about 6 medium sized splits on top of the coal bed. I have been putting two less-seasoned splits on the top row. That way they bake for a while and dry out before the splits below them reduce to coals. I don't mind the extra energy required to heat the water in the unseasoned splits because this stove throws more heat than I need when everburn is working properly.
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