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New Stove Kinks - Need some advice

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by rudysmallfry, Dec 8, 2005.

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  1. rudysmallfry

    rudysmallfry Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2005
    Messages:
    356
    Loc:
    Milford, CT
    The parameters. New Hearthstone Heritage, basement level, 6" single wall pipe to thimble, chimney is new 6" class A on outer wall of house about 16' tall. Two 90 degree elbows involved. My wood is an asortment of oak, maple, and softer woods (mostly cedar) It all appears to be well seasoned.

    1. I am having trouble keeping the stove up to temperature. I can get it up to 400 within an hour of starting it up, but once the logs start to break down, the temp drops off rapidly. I am constantly adding logs to keep it up to temp. I'm going through a lot of wood with this stove. Last night I put 4 good size splits of maple in there. The temp only hung at 400 for about 30 minutes and then dropped off. The wood was already reduced to coals. I have thermometers on both the soapstone and the stack. The soapstone temp stays steady as advertised, but the stack is all over the place. If I get cut the air flow at all, the temp drops rapidly. Someone suggested I might have trouble keeping temps up since the chimney is not enclosed. (last night it was 15 degrees outside) I am very concerned about not being able to keep this chimney hot since I do not want to create circumstances for creosote buildup. My draft is good. I have no trouble starting up a smoke free fire from a cold stove using two fat sticks and kindling with the stove doors closed. I've checked the seals on the stove. The main door isn't dead tight, but shows resistance on the dollar bill test. I used both a candle and an incense stick last night around it, and neither made any big moves toward the stove. I never see smoke in the room, so I'm thinking the seals are good. I used 14 split logs during a 7 hour period which just seems way too high. I must admit that I have been very reserved in making my fires so far. I'm reluctant to completely pack the firebox so far. I want to make sure that the installation was good before going nuts with temps and capacity.

    2. The stove makes a clicking noise in the area of the ash plan. By clicking noise, I mean a sound similar to what baseboard radiators and electric stove burners make while they are heating up. Is the stove supposed to do this? I hope this is just some sort of settling in period since I find it very annoying. It makes me very nervous that something's not right. I've never heard a stove make this sound.

    3. My glass is getting dirty with each fire. I know it probably has something to do with the temperture problem, but I would think once the fire was hot enough, it would burn off. It's always in the same two places, near the edges/corners of the glass. Never the middle.

    4. A question for the fire safety crowd. Since I am having trouble keeping my stove and chimney warm, is there a minimum time that you have to burn it a the appropriate temperature to prevent creosote buildup? In other words, it takes an hour to get to the safe temp of over 250, I burn it at a safe 400 for X amount of time, and then it cools back down without buildup. What would X be? When the chimney is hot enough for a certain time frame, does it burn off existing buildup as well?

    You guys have been great so far. I'm so glad I found this forum. I was always a good pyro in the past, but am definitely at a high learning curve with this new stove. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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  2. Rick

    Rick Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2005
    Messages:
    185
    Loc:
    Connecticut
    I had the same problem last year. It took a lot of wood to get the stove hot and it didn't stay there for long. I think it was my wood, it wasn't dry enough. I also added length to my chimney but you say your draft is good. I made sure my wood was bone dry this year and my stove works like a champ. My stove makes all sorts of clicking and pinging noises as it heats and cools. I can actually tell when its time to reload based on the pings becoming slower after a while. My glass was the same way last year, but this year it just gets a ashy coating on it which easily just wipes away. I can't answer the last question, i think that might be different for everyone. Good luck, i was frustrated with my stove all last winter, now I love it.

    Rick
  3. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
    Messages:
    9,218
    Loc:
    Lake Wissota
    Sounds like it may be a draft problem. Maybe you need insulated or higher chimney. 2, 90 deg elbows decreases the chimney height about 10 feet. Also check the dryness of your wood. Wet wood smokes up the glass more.
  4. carpniels

    carpniels Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2005
    Messages:
    536
    Loc:
    Rome, NY, USA
    Hi Rudy,

    I think both posts above contain some valid points. If Todd is correct, then your chimney is only 6 ft tall. That is not enough for a good draft. The wood is indeed a VERY important factor. Last year I ran out and cut a dead tree down in March (with snow) and burned it immediately. Not a good idea. It was still a little wet and boy did the the temp not get high at all. I learned so now I always cut and dry WAY more wood that I need so I will never have that problem again.

    Get a hold of a couple of good dry pieces from a friendly neighbor who uses wood too (I have used old 2x4s) and burn that and see if the temp goes and stays up now. A test is worth it.

    Good Luck

    Carpniels
  5. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    todd is right the effect of the 2 90's shortens your total verticle draft area to 6' it should be probably 16'. You are explaining all the symptoms of poor draft can can be wet wood even with dry wood your draft would not adequate. Without proper draft your stove will never function properly you will be getting results sush as now. You need to extend that chimney first and foremost.
    What does you manual say about elbows and lenght or the vent pipe manufacturer?
  6. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    Loc:
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    Also check your horizontal run of pipe between the 2- 90 deg elbows. Try to keep it as short as your clearances will allow.
  7. rudysmallfry

    rudysmallfry Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2005
    Messages:
    356
    Loc:
    Milford, CT
    Well stupid question first. The first elbow is an obvious one. My stove pipe comes out of the top of the stove and then 90 degrees into the wall. The second thing I'm counting as another elbow is the thimble. Am I counting a second one unnecessarily? The guy who installed me stove has the exact same model and supposedly the same setup. He said that I would have excellent draft with it. I didn't think it was a draft problem since I have no problems getting the fires started. I don't have to leave doors or the ash pan open. I can just put the kindling in, light it, shut the doors and let it go. I'll have to see if the installer has his enclosed. The manual states a minimum of 13' chimney height. I think my height is actually 18'. I forget he added a half section to clear the roof.

    My guess is the wood is suspect. Some is from a Maple tree that I had cut down in April 04, but it was only recently split in August. The stuff I had delivered wasn't what I ordered. I asked for Oak, paid top dollar, and got crap, but it appears to be seasoned. All of the bark has fallen off and it sounds hollow when I bang pieces together. I'm confused though. If the wood was wet, wouldn't it smoke, hiss, pop and not burn to coals in 1/2 hour? My stove is making very quick work of some very big logs.
    I'll try one of those 5 dollar bags of split wood that you get at Stop and Shop and see if I get a more consistent fire. Thanks for the input.
  8. Jfigliuolo

    Jfigliuolo New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2005
    Messages:
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    Sounds allot like pine. Quick fast fire. Is the wood very light?
  9. rudysmallfry

    rudysmallfry Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    356
    Loc:
    Milford, CT
    No pine. Lots of Maple, some Oak and the rest is Cedar and what looks like Ash. I don't burn pine.
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