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Need help w/new Avalon Hybrid Fyre

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Diane from WI, Jan 16, 2013.

  1. Diane from WI

    Diane from WI New Member

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    Stalked this forum and put in a flush mount hybrid. Great look. The issue is ASH! No matter what we do, we have a film on everything. Upstairs (open concept second story w/ fireplace on first floor) is so bad that we had to have hardwood floors professionally cleaned. Had this unit professionally installed by a good reputable local longstanding company. They first said our wood was wrong (kiln dried) so we bought three full cords (1 kindle, 2 of hard oak). Bought the moisture tester, all new wood is within acceptable range. We pull out the top knob to load (per the manual instructions). We rarely do slow burn. Serious ash - so bad that entire house is dust coated every week (we burn most nights). We clean box every 2-3 days, so ash buildup is NOT the issue. We have let the buildup go longer, and cleaned more frequent. No change in ash output on our furniture/floors/air.

    Could it be the install? The catalytic converter? Really need help. Fireplace company coming out again next week. HELP PLEASE! Picture attached of one week of dust in a room that does NOT contain this darned fireplace!. Ready to have this pulled and have my large open fireplace back! NOT HAPPY!!!! HELP PLEASE!

    IMG_1520.JPG

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  2. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    I've never heard of this happening.

    Please give more information. How is the avalon hooked up? Details re the install please. How tall is your chimney? Did you previously use the fireplace? If so, did you have any ash issue? Do you SEE ash come out of the insert when you load? Does it seem to happen when you are NOT burning, as opposed to when you are burning, or do you not know? Are there any telltale avenues of ash anywhere near the insert that would give any hints? How long have you been burning? How much wood have you gone through? Have you had the problem since day one, or did it develop? Are your CO monitors reading normal CO levels when burning? Are you burning 24/7? Have you removed and checked your cat? It may be blocked, in which case air can't flow properly when you try to engage the cat, and you'll get a messy burn, with air (and flue gases and ash) coming out anywhere that offers less resistance than a clogged cat...

    Some ideas to pursue for starters.. Have you checked your flue for build up?
  3. jdp1152

    jdp1152 Minister of Fire

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    First guess is you're not opening the bypass before opening the door.
    Second guess, you're not cracking the door a few seconds before swinging it open all the way
    Third guess, you're not keeping your hearth swept before turning the fan back on and it's just sucking in the blower and distributing

    Kiln dried shouldn't matter a bit when it comes to ash distribution in your home. I suspect this is operator error and not an issue with the insert. Even if there were some issues with the cat, if you open the bypass for load/reload, very little ash should find it's way in your home unless your flue isn't connected.

    and seriously...how reputable is said installation company if they told you that kiln dried hardwood is bad?
    Huntindog1 likes this.
  4. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    Hence my questions about the install....
    And I agree, nonsense about the kiln dried wood. Any hard or soft wood that is dry is fine to burn and should not be the CAUSE of the ash problem you are having.
  5. WoodpileOCD

    WoodpileOCD Minister of Fire

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    Nothing comes to mind past the thoughts above but you have to know you are breathing this stuff in if it is floating around to the level your pictures show. This could be a serious health issue.

    This just came to mind. ==c When you burn tonight, turn all the lights out and use a strong flashlight to determine the source. With that much coming out into the house, it shouldn't be hard to see it in the air.
    rideau and HollowHill like this.
  6. Diane from WI

    Diane from WI New Member

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    WOW - Went to bed last night after posting and you people ROCK for answers! Will try to answer your questions. Would LOVE if this were operator error, TRUST ME.
    1. House is 12 years old. High end, full masonry fireplace with 42" opening that we burned nonstop. Realized VERY inefficient for WI winters (we only bought the house 2 years ago. NO ASH issues with open fireplace. No glass or screen with that one, burned nightly. Flue cleaned before insert installed.
    2. We have a LARGE Cape Cod. Fireplace about 3 feet taller than the highest point on second floor. No wind blocks from any angle. Again, no issues with old fireplace. The blower is wired through the old ash dump in the basement. Other than that., not sure of other details on install (I do not claim to know the first thing about fireplaces).
    3. Installed an insert in October, 2012. Used this company before, really - they are reputable. We did NOT go with the cheapest - we went with the two man show that does many high end homes. They only offered kiln dried as a possibility, not as a solution. They were unsure.
    4. We do open the top know (bypass) EVERY time we open the door. For loading, ash cleaning, etc. It is only me and hubby, so it is not like we have kids that are sneaking the door open.
    5. We are on full cord #2 this winter. Some was burned with old fireplace. But we burned this new one almost nightly since we got it. Darned cold in Wisconsin this time of year.
    6. Obvious ash issue is on the AIR INTAKE - as it sucks air in (on the bottom of the unit facing the great rom) we have to vacuum this almost weekly if not more often. Totally clogged. So, this shows (to me) the enormous amount of ash floating.....Hence the pictures.
    7. Unsure if ash is coming during burn or non burn time. Just know my hose is coated in ash to the point that people comment - and I dust 100% of the house weekly. My leather furniture has a film on it, and the pics above show the rest of the house.
    8. Have not looked at the cat - do not even know where to find it. If it is blocked, it has been blocked from day one. This has been an issue since day one, so not sure how the cat could have been blocked. We called the company on the third week of ownership to share our ash/dust issue, and that is when they questioned our wood choice (as they noticed the wood when they did the install).
    9. Finally, I am a whacko about the dirtiness of a wood fire and have an ash vacuum that I use every other night on the hearth when I am vacuuming the intake area (that is coated).

    THANK YOU so very much for your input. I am hoping I do not sound defensive or like a know it all. I really want to find a solution. I am also copying this thread to send to my dealer (who I REALLY do like and trust) to give him some ideas.
    Again, THANK YOU for taking the time to help. Any more questions or solutions are so appreciated!!!
  7. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Why and how?

    The only way I could possibly see this taking place is when you are emptying the ash from the firebox.
  8. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Considering you are "cleaning" far more than anyone else, I have to say the vaccum cleaners and ash removal is your problem.
  9. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Can you post a picture or two? This is a stretch, but I'm wondering if the stove blower is sucking up ash from the old ash dump? You could check this by stuffing a rag around the power cord at the ash dump.
  10. Diane from WI

    Diane from WI New Member

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    1. We have to clean every 2-3 days, or the ash is overflowing out the box!
    2. Before buying the ash vac at Christmas, we shoveled the ash with a shovel and pail (carefully!) So, I respectfully disagree that it is the vacuum.
    3. I cannot see the power cord - it is UNDER the installed unit, so I cannot stuff a rag around it.
    4. We did empty the old ash dump before installation, but admittedly did not completely clean it. Our basement (where the ashes dumped and the area is cleaned out) has NO ash to be found.
    I now have linked our installer to this site, so he is reading your responses. THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH!!!
  11. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    You are distributing the ash some how. Maybe as BG suggested, maybe in other ways. Do you turn your fan off during the ash removal (and why in the heck are you doing this every 2 days?). Are you swinging the door open like your grabbing a bag of microwave pop corn? Something...Something is distributing the ash.
  12. Diane from WI

    Diane from WI New Member

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    Again, if we did not empty the ashbox, it would be overflowing. The ash is that thick. I am guessing the cat may be totally clogged based on the amount of ash in the box.
  13. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    You are probably correct. Also, I would like to second the idea of turning out the lights and using a strong beam flash light, have someone observe your cleaning methods as well as reload methods. You should be able to follow the ash "wave" if that is where it is coming from.

    Sounds like a whole bunch of ash for only two days of burning. Do you possible have a different source of wood that you could burn for a week (trade with neighbor or friend)?
  14. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Agreed, the ash has to have a source. Either it is pre-existing ash or it is new ash coming from the cleaning. Cleaning this stove every 2-3 days is most unusual. That is where I would start. It could be there is unnecessary tending or cleaning happening here. Always turn off the stove blower before starting to clean out ash. Also, check the ash vacuum. It could be the source of the ash if the filter is compromised. What brand ash vac is this?
  15. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    I disagree. cleaning out the ash box that often is not normal. If your ash is truly building up this quickly you are getting incomplete burns. But, I think this is more of the case of inexperience. There is no need to clean out the firebox. You SHOULD have ash in your stove for better, longer burns and to hold coals longer.

    Vacuums can also blow ash around for a variety of reasons.
  16. NE WOOD BURNER

    NE WOOD BURNER Minister of Fire

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    Did the install include a liner in the chimney or is it dumped just past the damper?
  17. thewoodlands

    thewoodlands Minister of Fire

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    I would have them check the seal on your flue connection (page 13 in your manual), do you have the Fettle installed on your stove? (page 12 of your manual.

    Page 27 will show you where your Catalytic Combustor is located.
    http://avalonfirestyles.com/TravisDocs/100-01273_000.pdf
  18. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    BBar - I also question the 2 or 3 days, but I do have to say that the wood that I am currently burning (which is mucho dry) deposits about double the amount of ash that I am use to. I dig out about 5 gallons of ash every 5-6 days. White, powdery, completely burned up ash. First year that I have ever seen this. (different wood source than normal, also).
  19. thewoodlands

    thewoodlands Minister of Fire

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    What type of Ash Vac did you buy?

    That Ash Vac is a accident waiting to happen, lots of embers in your ashes.
  20. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Nothing wrong with shoveling out some ash. But when you are using terms like "cleaning out" and using vacuums, this indicates the OP is going beyond what is needed to maintain a good ash bed.
  21. Waulie

    Waulie Minister of Fire

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    What a terrible problem to have. Keep asking and answering and I'm sure you'll get it figured out.

    I have to say I doubt it is the result of your cleaning method. From what you're are describing and those pictures, you'd have to drink a bottle of whiskey and clean out the stove with your eyes closed to spread that much ash around and not know it. I think it is getting sucked from somewhere and getting dispersed by the fan on the unit. Only my opinions, of course. Good luck!
  22. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Agreed.
  23. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    I can't understand that. That's about as much ash as I get in a month.
  24. Waulie

    Waulie Minister of Fire

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    Different woods do leave different amounts and consistenty of ash. But really, how often you need to remove some is mostly dictated by how much you burn and how deep your box is below the door. I still think it is unlikely you could cause that much ash to go airborn during ash removal and not know it. She also indicated it was a problem before she got the ash vac.
  25. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Normally, I can go about two weeks without shoveling out. I am at about 5 days with the current fuel I am using. It is actually hyper dry stuff. Some of this stuff has been split and dried under roof for 9-10 years. It has to be the fuel. I have not changed anything else (and I have been doing this for awhile).

    I am not sure of your stove, but I run a lot of wood through this thing. At 3 cuft it is more than you will carry in an arm load (I use a tote).

    But back to the OP. My point was that some fuel seems to produce much more ash than others do.

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