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New Lopi Republic 1750i Installed

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by wh401, Nov 14, 2012.

  1. wh401

    wh401 New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2012
    Messages:
    36
    Loc:
    Southern Maryland
    Hey All,

    I’m new to the wood burning scene and just recently completed the install of a new Lopi Republic 1750i w/ 6” FlexPro liner. It replaced an E-Z-Insert slammer that was original to the house, which had a large, maybe 9” long, crack in the back of the firebox. My wife and I discussed having it welded and making it through the winter, but I just couldn’t come to terms with myself to allow that thing to run in the house, especially while I would be at work during the day. So, we opted to redo everything the right way, even if it was fairly expensive. We saved a good bit of money, and I got to know the install very well, by doing the work myself. I insulated the entire length of liner and fed it through the existing 13” masonry chimney without any issues. I had to cut the middle part of the damper out to allow the liner to fit through…it just cleared. I fastened a block off plate with some 22 gauge sheet metal to tabs that clip over the inside of the damper, which is then held up by long 3/8” all thread and wing nuts. No insulation behind it currently as it was going to be a special order from Lowes and we kind of needed to get this stove up and going as fast as possible, it’s our only form of heat right now. I’ll stuff some Roxul up there once I move it out to clean.

    When we started looking for a replacement insert we were originally looking at used stoves, due to the lower cost. We had a good used Osburn 1600 lined up for $200, but the deal end up not working out. The seller removed it from the fireplace it was in and discovered that it was actually a 2400 model. Still for $200 none the less, but it was too big for our fireplace unfortunately. So, that was after about 1 – 1.5 months of looking. After that we finally broke down and felt we just needed to get something since it was starting to get cold, so we went to look at new stoves. I’d been looking at used Lopi stoves and was impressed with the quality, as well as the reviews on here. I was interested in the Republic 1750i since it was a lower priced, “value stove”, but with all the same features and build quality that Lopi is known for.

    The stove took a little over 2 weeks to come in. Picked it up on a Thursday and stayed up that evening until 3 am getting it in. I was just in one of those mentalities where, “it’s getting done tonight”. I was easily able to lift the stove/pallet right off the back of the truck with my tractor and drive it right in the front door. Not the entire tractor J, just the pallet. I set it inside and was able to slide it around on cardboard. Wheeled it up to the stove with a dolly and slid it in with a few rods. I put furnace cement on both ends of the 45 degree connector at the stove, and then let that sit 2 days before any fires.

    I did the break in fire last Saturday with cut up pieces of the pallet that it was delivered on. Started off with a small fire, slowly brought it up to 300 and let it simmer for a little while. A little later I stepped it up to about 450, and then cruised it at 600 for final burn in. I’ve done a few fires since then and have had pretty good luck with it. Once it starts getting up above 400 I start shutting the air down in ¼ increments of the full range of the air control. I regularly have it cruising around 500 – 600. I haven’t really been able to get long burns going, a few hours at the most, although I haven’t played with it too much.

    I had my first worrying moment this morning, but I’m pretty sure I figured out the problem. Last night at about 10pm I filled the stove E/W with seasoned oak on hot coals from kindling. The wood took off fairly easily and was able to dial the air down and keep the fire curising around the normal 500-600. This morning I woke up about 5 am and still had a lot of coals, about an 1” of ash, as well as one piece of oak that hadn’t full burned down. That was probably the longest I’ve been able to go so far on a load. I went ahead and fully loaded the stove with more oak, which took off fairly easily. If I feel the fire starts going through the 500-600 range too quick then I’ve had good luck with opening the bypass, which seems to let the heat go right up the chimney. Cutting the air usually helps instantly too. I did this and it settled off at about 500, and then was steadily dropping. I went ahead and opened the air control back up to half way, and closed the bypass, which started bring the temp back up. I also had the blower on at this time about 60% fan speed. I saw the temp start to climb again, so I dropped the air control off to about an 1/8th of the way open, temps were around 575. It hit 600 and started just slowly going past that, so I opened the bypass to relieve some heat and cut the air off completely, but it still kept climbing. Flames weren’t out of control in the firebox, it was mainly secondaries and one primary towards the right side of the box. After about 10 – 15 minutes of that it still hadn’t stopped climbing and was going north of 650, so I was starting to get worried. It started pushing 700 and nothing I was doing would stop it. It ended up finally topping at just south of 700, but that was really worrying me. Before I’ve never been able to completely cut the air off and have flames of either type still running well in the firebox. I’ve always had to leave the air about an 1/8th of the way open to get any kind of burn, say for an overnighter, this time I had no problem. Also, the combo of shutting off the air as well as opening the bypass has usually stopped the heat build up instantly, but did nothing this time.

    I believe what happened was I had to many hot coals that were spread out over the bed, combined with one piece of oak that wasn’t all the way burned and still easily reignited, which made all of the wood that I put in the stove basically light off together, which caused the mass amount of heat I wasn’t used to seeing. I also figure the nice layer of ashes, which isn’t always there, help really cushion the fire/coals and help it produce more heat.

    To talk a little about the wood I have, I had 2 generous cords of “seasoned” and split red oak delivered in October, so that’s been my main fuel. I have a mix of very well season hardwoods that I picked up a few weeks ago of CL, I could tell it’d been stacked in a barn for a number of years. Not sure on what it actually is though since most of it’s bark is gone, I’ll have to post a picture. I have a huge hickory I’m currently splitting and seasoning for a few seasons down the road. I’ve also got a large dead red oak to buck, and another white oak to clean up and buck. The wood I had delivered is pretty dry, (haven’t checked it with a meter), but I don’t think it’s totally at 20%. If gives off a bit of smoke when lighting, like it’s relieving the moisture content, not a lot but still noticeable.

    Overall it’s been a pretty good experience so far, other than this morning. It was getting a little stressful since nothing I was doing would stop it. On top of the fact that I needed to get to work, but I didn’t want to leave the house until it was stable.

    Thanks for listening.

    Rick

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  2. eclecticcottage

    eclecticcottage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,693
    Loc:
    WNY
    I suspect you're right on as to the cause of the climbing temps-too soon of a reload on too many coals with pretty dry wood. We've hit over 700 on the stovetop without a problem on ours, I don't think you hit a critical heat level. If you need to reload with a lot of coals, your best bet is to scrape them all to the front so they aren't under the entire length of each split. It's funny that the insert has the bypass damper but the stove doesn't.

    Sounds like you're on your way to a nice warm winter. Congrats on the new insert!
  3. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2012
    Messages:
    1,894
    Loc:
    SW Washington
    Welcome, Rick.

    There are other, more experienced users here that can discuss this from first-hand experience, but there have been quite a few other threads here about overfire or runaway situations. The common thread seems to be putting too much wood on a hot bed of coals. It leads to so much outgassing, so quickly, that you can't adequately control the secondary burning by turning down the air. All EPA stoves are built so that the air is never completely shut off even when turned down. Most folks will advise you to rake the coals forward first, then put the wood toward the rear to help prevent that affect EDIT: (as eclecticcottage mentioned)
  4. MarkinNC

    MarkinNC Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2010
    Messages:
    529
    Loc:
    Leicester, NC
    You must have great draft with your chimney system and I suspect that when you "let the heat out" of your stove by opening the bypass damper you created a more forceful draft. A more forceful draft would pull more air through your stove and you would have to cut your air back even more. That's my theory anyway. I think you are well on your way and have a great understanding of your stove. I do not want to come off as patronizing when I say that I use my bypass damper for what it was designed for (establishing a good draft) if you get my meaning.

    When you have a big coal bed in the stove I would start cutting the air back much more aggressively and earlier after reloading. I have had some fires that were almost impossible to keep south of 700 (though I can smother the fire with my air control). My solution I learned in the second season is to cut back the air control earlier and settle the stove around 550 for longer burns. I call it holding the stove back and I think you know why I call it that. The dynamic is completely different when doing a cold start on a 50 degree evening to take the chill out of the air.

    Don't sweat the 700 and change for Lopi. My owners manual says 800 is over firing. Remember you can turn your fan on high to cool the stove a bit as well.

    I did not get long burns my first year either. They are longer now when I pick bigger splits or rounds and pack the firebox FULL (I don't like EW). I keep a few real small splits (I call them fillers) to fill the gaps and get more BTU's out of the load. I look at the amount of fire in the box and when I settle down the air control, the fire turns from orange to a more blue violet in color (and there is not a whole lot of it either) and usually at least the middle burn tube is glowing red.

    I hope this helps. I am a bit of a perfectionist and I think you bought a VERY durable product!
  5. wh401

    wh401 New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2012
    Messages:
    36
    Loc:
    Southern Maryland
    Thanks for the advice all. I feel like the chimney must have a pretty strong draft as well. So far, <knock on wood>, I haven't had any issues with smoke back-up, and starting fires has been pretty easy. Heck, even when I was sitting in the fireplace cutting the damper out, all of the metal and soot dust from the angle grinder was naturally being pulled up the chimney, (open), without any coming back into the living space.

    This morning I had much better luck with the fire, although I tried to play it cautious too. Raked all the coals to the front, (didn't have anywhere near as many this time,) loaded it with 3 splits of oak in the back, one in the front on top of the coals with it sort of nudged up against the others. The first one went off and was warming up the stove, so I loaded another piece of oak to the top of that one after about 30 minutes. Brought the air down and it was cruising comfortably at 500 when I left. Hopefully it will do it's thing and naturally ration out the other splits until I get home around 4 pm.
  6. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2012
    Messages:
    1,894
    Loc:
    SW Washington
    Sounds like you got it licked.
  7. wh401

    wh401 New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2012
    Messages:
    36
    Loc:
    Southern Maryland
    I've been doing overnight burns since I installed the stove, but last night was the first night that it's burn slow enough and hot enough that the blower was still running in the morning and I had really hot coals left. At about 9 pm last night I raked all the coals to the either side of the front of the stove, load 3 oak splits on top of each other in the far back, 2 oak splits on top of each other in the middle, and 1 oak split loaded on top of the coals in the front with room for air to run underneath. All was loaded E/W. When I woke up this morning at 5 am, the blower was still running with a stove temp of about 200, ( blower runs based on a thermostat in the housing). The split on the bottom back of the stove was unburned and just synged on the front side, the one on top of that was burned about 50% of the way, and the bottom split in front of those was hot coals that fell apart when touched. I thought that was great for 9 hours of run time.

    Also, yesterday afternoon I burned some poplar splits that my late father had cut back in about 2004, it'd been stored in a shed ever since. Boy did that stuff run great, no doubt since it had dried so long. I put 4 large splits in the stoves and got nice heat, (about 500 degrees), and a 4 hour medium burn, as I was heating the house back up. I'll definitely be cutting up some more of that for the milder months. I've got 3 large poplars that came down at my parents place from Sandy so I'll be sure to get working on those.

    Rick

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