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Need advice on Derco Grizzly stove

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Flursheim, Jan 8, 2012.

  1. Flursheim

    Flursheim New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2012
    Messages:
    3
    Loc:
    Woodbrodge, VA
    Hi all,

    We recently bought a house here in VA that has an old Derco Grizzly stove (from what I've gathered). This house was built in 1992 and the stove was installed a couple of years later. I have little to no clue about such stoves and was going to get it removed during a chimney clean last month but the guy talked me out of it.

    One thing I failed to do was ask him how to operate one and I've tried to no avail to find a copy of a manual online. After having watch a couple of videos online, I decided to give the stove a swirl last night. Got it up to the point where I placed the first log in. Fire was burning good and I then proceeded to close the door. The fire immediately started to dim. I thought I had the side drafts open all the way but yet it started to dim. So I had to open the doors again and this time smoke started filling into the room. I know I did something wrong here but I think we could have done with better firewood too.

    Question....what is the blower for? I noticed at the side it reads Thermal or Manual. We had it on then turned it off by switching to thermal but some time later it activated on its own.

    I check the combustor and it looks to be in good form. I don't think the previous owner had used this stove often enough. And yes I did have the top/vent open. We had to keep the door open slightly and let it burn until it died out.

    Will welcome any advice. Attached are some photos. Thanks!

    Helm

    stove01.jpg stove02.jpg stove03.jpg
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 31, 2014

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  2. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    I can't tell you any specifics on your particular stove, but when using a insert or woodstove in general, you absolutely have to get the firebox AND flue up to a warm temperature to get the smoke to draw up it. You want to get some good kindling, get a good hot "starter" fire going BEFORE you put the bigger stuff on.....open up the draft and leave the door cracked and let that starter fire heat go up the flue to get it warmed up....after you got a good hot fire going with some slightly bigger stuff (2 to 4" splits), you can take the door shut and slowly close the draft down.....making sure not to choke the fire out. Once the firebox and flue are hot, you won't have near the trouble keeping the fire going. I'm sure others will chime in, you've landed in the right spot to learn about that stove, just be patient....
  3. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    49,812
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    That lever on top appears to be what engages or bypasses the cat. You'll want to start the stove with the cat bypassed so that smoke goes straight up the flue. Once the fire is going strong and the firebox is up to temperature, the cat can be engaged.

    But before you try that you need to establish where the air control is. What does the lever to the left of the fan switch do? Is that the air control? If you think it is, try it once you have a good, lively, dry kindling fire and the stove door closed. If this is the air control, the fire should burn more vigorously with the air control in the open position. Try running the stove with the cat bypass left open until you get a hang of it and can burn a decent fire. Be sure to burn only fully seasoned, dry wood to ensure best success.

    PS: Are you sure it is a Grizzly? I think of them as having 2 doors. I haven't found a picture of this one yet, though it might be the Super Achiever FXP-1-LEX? If so it is EPA listed.

    Aha, found it:

    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/51243/#567483

    PS: When was the last time the flue was cleaned?
  4. Flursheim

    Flursheim New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2012
    Messages:
    3
    Loc:
    Woodbrodge, VA
    Scotty, BeGreen, thanks for the advice.

    @BeGreen - thanks for the link! Looks like the very same model as mine. Ref the flue, it was cleaned last month. Guy said that it was pretty clean to begin with but we had no idea since we didn't wanna take any chances before we started working the stove.
  5. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    49,812
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    Great. Did they inspect and gently clean the cat when they cleaned the stove? That should have you off to a good start.

    Your stove looks to be in very nice condition. It could have many years of heating remaining in it's life. I'd try to learn how to run the stove with the cat bypassed for a while. Once you have the hang of running the stove at different air settings and can get the stove to run in the say 500F range, try engaging the cat fully. It should start glowing bright red Then, you should be able to back off on the air until the fire is somewhat lazy, but the cat remains glowing hot. Go outside and there should be no smoke visible from the chimney, just heat waves. And remember, burn only dry, well-seasoned wood for the best success.
  6. Flursheim

    Flursheim New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2012
    Messages:
    3
    Loc:
    Woodbrodge, VA
    I don't think so but I did take a look at the cat and it appears to be clean. Will get a pix up and thanks for the additional advice. These stoves are all new to me. Years of living in NYC and all we had was a plain exposed fireplace. Burning firewood then was straight forward and a no brainer. I'm glad I'm learning all this from the pros!

    Thanks again.
  7. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    49,812
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    This information is from the Buck 80 catalytic stove. It's not specific to your Grizzly, but offers some general guidelines that you may find helpful:

    PROPER FUEL SELECTION
    This heater is designed to burn natural wood only. Higher efficiencies and lower emissions generally result when
    burning air dried seasoned hardwoods, as compared to softwoods or to green or freshly cut hardwoods.

    DO NOT BURN:
    Treated Wood Garbage Solvents Trash
    Coal Cardboard Colored Paper
    Burning treated wood, garbage, solvents, colored paper or trash may result in release of toxic fumes and may
    poison or render the catalytic combustor ineffective.
    Burning coal, cardboard, or loose paper can produce soot, or large flakes of char or fly ash that can coat the
    combustor, causing smoke spillage into the room and rendering the combustor ineffective.

    ACHIEVING CATALYTIC LIGHT-OFF
    The temperature in the stove and the gases entering the combustor must be raised to between 500º F to 700º F for
    catalytic activity to be initiated. This can be determined with the use of a temperature monitor (TM-20). During the
    start up of a cold stove a medium to high firing rate must be maintained for about 20 minutes. This ensures that the
    stove, catalyst, and fuel are all stabilized at proper operating temperatures. Even though it is possible to have gas
    temperatures reach 600º F within two to three minutes after a fire is started, if the fire is allowed to die down
    immediately it may go out or the combustor may stop working. If this happens open the damper to raise the
    temperature to activate the catalyst. Once the combustor starts working, heat generated in it by burning the smoke
    will keep it working.

    ACHIEVING CATALYTIC LIGHT-OFF WHEN REFUELING
    During the refueling and rekindling of a cool fire, or a fire that has burned down to the charcoal phase, operate the
    stove at a medium to high firing rate for about 15 minutes to ensure that the catalyst reaches approximately 600º F.

    CATALYST MONITORING
    It is important to periodically monitor the operation of the catalytic combustor to ensure that it is functioning
    properly, and to determine when it needs to be replaced. A non-functioning combustor will result in a loss of
    heating efficiency, and an increase in creosote and emissions.
    This catalytic heater is equipped with the means to install a temperature probe to monitor catalyst operation.
    Properly functioning combustors typically maintain temperatures in excess of 1000º F. If catalyst temperatures are
    not in excess of 500º F refer to Catalyst Troubleshooting Section of this owner’s manual. {Not sure if this is an option for your Grizzly}

    CAUTION AGAINST OVER-FIRING
    Do Not Over-fire This Heater.
    Attempts to achieve heat output rates that exceed heater design specifications can result in permanent damage to the
    heater and to the catalytic combustor.

    http://tinyurl.com/75ymy3t
  8. Domer99

    Domer99 New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Messages:
    1
    Hi Helm, I've got the same insert in our house that we bought in 2010 (not sure when it was installed). I've been searching for info on the insert too and thought I'd join here to tell you what I've learned so far. The levers on both sides of the insert are the air controls (let combustion air into the fire box). All the way up is full open. I'm not sure what the difference between the two levers is (maybe they let air in from one side or the other??). If you figure it out, let me know.

    I believe the fan operates in two modes, one is manual meaning that when you turn the black knob to the different fan speeds the fan will turn on and run at that speed regardless of the temp of the insert. The "Therm" one only turns on when the insert is hot or "up to temperature"...not sure what that trigger temperature is. The blower blows a TON of hot air into the room.

    I didn't know what I was dealing with at the beginning and had a heck of a time getting a fire started in the insert. I had the same smoking up the house issue and so I ended up taking out the catalyst because I thought it may have been clogged. The bolts/nuts were in terrible shape and I couldn't put it back in. The cat also stunk (creosote?) and the smell would enter the house when we had a windy day (and no fire), so my wife didn't want me to put it back in. I've been running the fireplace without the cat for the last two winters. Still gets pretty darn hot...plenty for us.

    I have found that the key is getting a really hot fire going as quickly as possible to get the hot air drafting up the chimney. So I use paper, some Fatwood, nice dry fallen branches, and some really small logs. I also make a sort of fire grate out of two medium sized logs...I put one on the left side and one on the right side (parallel to the side walls), paper in the middle, Fatwood on top of paper, branches on top of Fatwood and small logs on top of all of that, but the logs are resting on the two "fire grate" logs on either side (or at least they will when the other stuff burns and falls to the ground)...this allows air to circulate under the small logs and helps the fire get started. Then my secret ingredient is a MAPP gas torch (only 5-10 seconds worth) to light it off hot. I think the that paper and/or the Fatwood may not be good for the catalyst if you still have that in, so you may not want to try that.

    I have the bypass fully open (pull the lever on the top all the way out and give it a quarter turn counter clockwise so it will stay open), and the door open, air levers fully open (up). Then I light it up with the torch for a few seconds so the base material is mostly started and quickly close the door to only a 2-3" gap. This lets very little to no smoke in the house. I let it burn like this and add a few small logs until I have a nice base of red hot coals. Then you can add the bigger logs and close the door, and dial down the air control levers making sure to watch the fire and raise them back up if it looks like it's going to snuff out.

    Our main problem with the unit is that we don't like the look of it. So I'm going to have to do some research to see if we can paint it with some high temp paint (like for a BBQ). We could also use some help if someone has a good method to clean the inside of the glass. It gets pretty sooted up (potentially from Fatwood or the fact that we're not burning with a catalyst). But we're pretty happy with it now that we know how to use it.

    Greg
  9. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    4,913
    Loc:
    Schenectady, NY
    You can use a paper towel wetted and dipped in ash to clean the glass. The ash acts as a mild abrasive. Heavier buildups can be removed with a razor blade.

    Matt
  10. mellow

    mellow Resident Stove Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2008
    Messages:
    3,533
    Loc:
    Salisbury, MD
    Does this have a liner attached to it? More than likely it would be an 8" flex liner. Sounds like you have draft issues if the fire dims when you close the door with the air controls open all the way, did the sweep mention a liner or can the insert be pulled out of the fireplace?

    If it is a "slammer" install (no liner attached) I would recommend not using that insert until one is installed, preferably an insulated liner due to it being a catalytic stove, that will help solve your draft issues.


    Edit: Just noticed this thread was started a year ago, resurrected by Greg. OP is probably long gone by now.
  11. a316co2000

    a316co2000 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2014
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    Loc:
    Virginia

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