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My opinion on Selkirk Venting for pellet stoves

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by smwilliamson, May 23, 2013.

  1. smwilliamson

    smwilliamson Minister of Fire

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    Southcoast, MA
    mepellet was wondering my opinion on it, here it is.

    Selkirk doesn't make bad pellet venting systems. They are safe and get the job done. They make two I'm familiar with; Direct-Temp which allows for a true direct vent option and the PL Vent which is a standard double wall type "L" vent much like everyone else. Their price point for the Direct-Temp and PL venting is good, so my reluctance to specify it isn't on margins...I pay more for Duravent.

    PL Vent - Personally, I do not like the way the venting connects. This venting slips together with a twist and a turn but the slip joints to fit them together are in a fixed location on both the male and female connections and the system requires the use of screw fasteners.

    When you have a fixed slip joint on the venting components, you are somewhat limited as to how you will put components together and worse, when putting them back together after a cleaning or inspection the connections MUST go back together exactly the same way...this has to do with the screws. There are no registration holes for putting the screws in so its up to the installer. Once the skin is penetrated, the holes only align one way...this slows down a simple job to a crawl. By comparison, other manufacturers that allow swivel joints or 360 degree placement at the components make installing and uninstalling a breeze. This is my biggest beef.

    The silicone gaskets used with PL Vent often get pinched, ripped or otherwise compromised during maintenance which then requires the use of squirt silicone. Once a vent component has been properly sealed in this method..your next service visit is worse...cause you aint gonna get that seam apart without a lot of extra work.

    PL Vent uses 304 grade stainless for the inner wall which ok for straight up wood smoke but is not good for a multi-fuel use. Unfortunately, multi-fuel today isn't just a fuel choice....there are addtitives in many pellet brands (knowingly or unknowingly) that create the effects of multi-fuel gases on the manufactured edges of formed stainless steel. Selkirk uses AL-29 in the Direct-Temp, a great hybrid metal alloy much a kin to 321 stainless which is great choice for "all-fuel"" applications.

    At a minimum, I like to see pellet venting use 304L for the inner walls.

    Lastly, any venting that requires the use of screws to fasten the venting together also runs to risk of installer error whereby the installer uses a screw too long and it penetrates the inner skin or folds in the connection seam which renders the venting wrecked. Because I do not stock a truck load of Selkirk, I cannot replace just one compromised component when I stumble upon a compromised Selkirk system...and there are many.

    Direct-Temp - All around, I like this system. When a true direct vent installation is required, this is a good choice. but where I have installed many of these systems, unless I put them in, I don't run into them very much so the jury is still kinda out.

    Another blanket complaint.....the metal that they use for thimbles, fire stops etc...is just kind if thin and "unfinished" in my opinion. Metals used for components that are formed tend to be torsionally rigid or hold it's shape. Selkirk's metal tends to bend, fold and or memory from shipping, handing and worse...dimple at the fasteners. The thimbles are just a sheet of thin sheet metal. When you screw into the wall to set the thimble in place the metal will actually cave if you put too much torque on the screw.....it is doesn't take much. So you have to balance between dimpled or loose. Stuff like that makes me the installer look like a hack. Additionally, the outer thimble skin (exterior) is the same flat profile, so unless you adopt a plinth block on the outside to match the siding depth (or fasten directly over the siding profile!!! ) you are going to end up with an inset that is not weather proof and looks wicked "hack-a-ma-tack"

    These are my opinions, we welcome yours.
    mepellet likes this.

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  2. reallyte

    reallyte Member

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    Good writeup. Makes sense.
  3. mepellet

    mepellet Minister of Fire

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    Thanks! Now your statements about Selkirk mean more to me. I understand your opinion now. I like my DT up and out installation. I do agree about the metal they use for the thimble though. Doesn’t look the best. Thanks again for your writeup!
  4. Lake Girl

    Lake Girl Minister of Fire

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    "Additionally, the outer thimble skin (exterior) is the same flat profile, so unless you adopt a plinth block on the outside to match the siding depth..."

    The Selkirk thimble skin that had the rock wool (Don's post), is it a higher profile to match up to siding depth?

    I guess you would probably have the same complaints with Biovent with screws, silicone gaskets. Gaskets can be purchased for replacement... Does Selkirk not have replacement gaskets for PL vent? (to avoid the squirt silicone) Stocking some for those instances where customers have them would save you a headache later:)
  5. smwilliamson

    smwilliamson Minister of Fire

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    the thimble don shows is for Class A, yes stocking some venting for replacement would be handy but you have to have BOTH 3" and 4" and they need to be from the same production runs as the fittings have changed twice that I know of and not to mention anytime you make a change...you have to disassemble the entire system to do a Level 2 inspection...by the time you have done all of this you may have well have just replaced the whole thing and then you still have the issue with screw holes and such. PIA all the way around:confused:
  6. DexterDay

    DexterDay Guest

    X2... My DT looks to be a very solid system. Good seals, good look, solid components. But the Thimble is a little flimsy.

    Nice write up... I agree with the fastener statement. My dura-vent isn't perfect, but I like it. And really only had a small leak on the 4" system in the Fahrenheit.

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