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Outside Air Kits, Do you recommend them?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by MountainStoveGuy, Jul 16, 2006.

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  1. delwalk

    delwalk New Member

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    How does this conversation apply, if at all, to wood pellet and corn burning appliances? For reference I've been looking into the Selkirk Direct Temp system for combining the exhaust flue with preheated air intake for my pellet stove. I'd be interested in whether or not such a design might alleviate the problem with wind induced pressure differentials since both intake and exhaust are subject to the same pressure.

    Someone brought up the idea that oxygen concentrations are higher at low temperatures than at high temperatures. That's true, sorta. The amount of oxygen by volume is greater at low temperatures but not in relation to other gases (i.e. percentage). If outside air containing 4.5% oxygen is pre-heated by passing around the combustion chamber it is still 4.5% oxygen (assuming minimal loss to oxidation of the appliance) when it reaches the fuel. Combustion efficiency is improved by raising the temperature of all of the reactants and increasing the amount of time the reactants are in contact with one another. Air preheating is used in a variety of commercial furnaces to increase combustion efficiency and is one part (the other being oxygen enrichment) of the improved efficiency of modern blast furnaces.

    It seems reasonable that the indoor air would have a slightly lower oxygen concentration than the outdoor air for a given building with oxygen consuming occupants. However I don't know that the difference in oxygen concentration is great enough to adversely impact the appliance. Lower concentrations of oxygen should just mean increasing the air flow to the appliance but I doubt the difference between indoor and outdoor is enough to cause more than a point or two different in efficiency, if at all. Assuming the stack temperature can be kept high enough to efficiently exhaust flue gasses and prevent creosote condensation it would seem to me that a system that combines both into a single pipe, such as the Direct Temp product, would be ideal. I don't believe there is a similar product for wood burning appliances unfortunately.

    Someone please let me know if I'm completely off base here. It's been some time since I've taught chemistry and I haven't had opportunity to apply that knowledge to wood burning appliances.

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  2. tradergordo

    tradergordo Minister of Fire

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    " I’d be interested in whether or not such a design might alleviate the problem with wind induced pressure differentials"

    Yes it would. And as you've stated, cooling the flue gasses this way is no good for wood stoves, but might work nicely for other combustion appliances.
  3. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    the cooler air being more dense is a small difference related to the rest of the benefits of OCA. as for reducing combustion efficiency by "wasting" the energy in heating the air is minimal, but look at it this way , if a cubic foot of air has a certain amount of oxygen molecules within it and a cooler cubic foot has more, even heating this air inside the combustion chamber does not reduce the amount of oxygen molecules, it will actually maintain , and would thus increase positive pressure inside the firebox (although it would be a miniscule amount) this cannot hurt draft , only benefit it even in a small way. its really the smallest difference gained by OCA. but its present. leave this as a draw or tie.

    the biggest benefit in my mind is the neutralization of pulling in air through leaks in windows under doors and such, this effect will reduce the overall efficiency of the device in an indirect way. heated air pulled out of the house replaced by lower temperature ambient air. for every BTU produced and released into the house, some must go to heating the cooler air being pulled into the structure through leaks, combine that with the BTU's lost by pulling preheated air out of the structure you are trying to keep warm at the same time. this effect will happen anyway due to the effects of other appliances in the home such as dryers, bathroom vents,range hoods etc. now i agree that sealing up a house in some climates could lead to unhealthy interior climates (high humidity and such) to this extent a different method of ventilation would be a viable option. to this end , check out this product http://www.condar.com/asv.html ive recommended them in the past for various reasons, mostly in my line of work to help folks with old fashioned units that may not be OAK capable but are in houses that are fraught with negative pressure. its a nice little product.

    i also am not sure that i like the idea of an unsealed OAK kit as well in relation to high wind downdrafting to me to make them totally effective is not an easy task , the downdraft would have the effect of pushing smoke through the intake , this with an unsealed OAK would result in smoke release into the structure, although with a sealed OAK it would have to carry the smoke outside and the resulting heat could be an issue, putting a valve in that does not allow backdrafting out of the stove itself could be an answer, but if this sticks then the stove would starve and pent up energy when released (as in opening the stove door which would feed a starving fire a large quantity of air that could ignite the fuel pent up in the stove would be extremely dangerous acting like a vapor explosion) a better solution in my mind would be a wind directional cap or a monsoon cap that was designed to protect the top of the flue against this type of downdrafting.

    by the way ,im having a really good time with this one myself. great thread
  4. Woodstove master

    Woodstove master New Member

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    "You control the burn with your air control, it doesn’t matter how oxygen dense the incoming air is because you will adjust for it either way so that you get the same heat output. Besides, the cold air immediately heats up and is then no more oxygen dense than the room air, I think people vastly overestimate this “oxygen density” difference between cold and warm air."

    You do not understand how this works. This is scientific facts that nobody can change. I explain below.

    Your secondary burn will only happen if there is enough oxygen left over after the primary burn is done. The more oxygen you have the better the main fire and secondary burn will work.. We are not talking only 4%. Regular outside air has 21% oxygen and will increase density with colder temperatures. Notice I said "density" not percentage. The percentage of cold outside air will still be 21% but the colder air can hold more of it, therefore being more dense with oxygen. Therefore cold outside air gives more oxygen density "per litre" than inside warm air. When humans breathe in this 21% we use 5% of it leaving 16% oxygen exhaled. With a family of 5 in your house you can see how the indoor air can be much lower in %. This will get worse as the % drops. Say it drops to 15%, breathe that in and exhale 10% etc... So to give your fire enough oxygen to have a complete burn it certainly will not hurt to use outside air and guarantee at least 21% oxygen in your inlet that is more dense. So in terms of molecules of oxygen, you will get more the colder it gets. In relation to heating the higher concentration thus losing the concentration as the air would be hotter is false as someone else stated briefly. If the air has 21% on a cold day but is more dense and is pre-heated in the stove this air will still have 21% oxygen, it does not just disappear, it changes in density. When the density changes as the temp goes up that oxygen has to go somewhere in a sealed system, it is taken up by the combustion process. There is no change in percentage by heating the air in a sealed system. The other molecules in the air expand at the same rate as the O2 molecules so the percentage of O2 molecules in air stays constant. So to sum it up: Outside air will always have 21% oxygen regardless of temperature but be able to carry more of it at low temperatures as the molecules are closer together, therefore "more dense". When the air heats up it expands with the same number of molecules of oxygen with less density. You still deliver more oxygen after heating. So this is a two fold positive outcome. I am a 16 year Paramedic also, and I am required to understand oxygen levels in most situations and have 4 years of college in Para-medicine taught by Doctors. I am considered a "Clinician" in NYS as are Doctors. Just in case anyone has any doubt. You can find this info on the web in many forms anyhow.
    The outside air can be a big difference. This is why we use refrigerators. The higher concentration of oxygen actually reduces the growth of certain types of bacteria. In emergency rooms you must log once a shift that you checked the temp of the unit with an analog thermometer and must be at a minimum temp.

    Maybe it is overestimated. I give the facts and you be the judge. that is what this is all about. The only way to tell is to conduct experiments to see what the difference is. I do notice that with outside air I get more blue flames in my wood stove then I did with inside air. Blue flames are efficient burning and hotter.
  5. Woodstove master

    Woodstove master New Member

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    I am not cooling the chimney itself. I have triple wall stove pipe going through and old 12" fireplace shell. It is the outer shell of the 8" pipe that was on the fireplace. This is the part that goes through the ceiling into the roof. It is only about 2 feet long. I have about a 3" space of air around the triple wall pipe from my wood stove that used to get very hot from radiant heat. I am cooling this air space as not to overheat the surrounding structures. I am in no way cooling the inside temp of the stove pipe. The cold air would have to go through the steel outer shell of the triple wall pipe, then the 1" fibre insulation, then the inner steel wall to decrease the 750 degree or higher temp. Not going to happen. With this setup there is no temperature change inside the pipe. The triple wall then goes outside for 6 more feet exposed to outside temp. If cooling this pipe's outer shell was a problem then I would as everyone else would have creosote buildup inside their chimney where it is exposed to outside air. There is no difference. I am just protecting my house.
    I live in a double-wide manufactured home and the OAK is under the house in the area protected by skirting, so there is no wind under the house. In my situation the OAK will work fine. I can see the problems with one outside on the wrong side of the wind. Your fix with two pipes is a good idea, I agree.

    Regarding the pellet stove outside air inlet. I think you will see an even greater change using outside air with a pellet stove. The fire is fan fed by a fan which helps keep greater oxygen levels at the base of the fire to keep it burning at a high temperature. This then goes out the exhaust pipe to the outside. These fans produce a high volume of air. They have to, to be able to feed the fire then exhaust the emissions out the pipe. If you use inside air you are producing a negative pressure in your home and blowing the just heated air outside. This effect is worse with pellet stoves as the fire is fan forced. You might just as well open a window and place a small fan in it all winter blowing outside. I also have a new pellet stove installed in my house in addition to my wood stove. I bought it when I could not find any wood to burn two years ago and also to supplement the wood stove as I routinely work 12 to 24 hours shifts and the wood stove cannot run for more than 9 to 10 hours. For the first week with the pellet stove I used inside air. Man was it cold in the house. The stove had to work at high levels and the outside rooms were freezing. I thought pellet stoves did not work well. I ordered and installed the outside air kit. What a huge difference it was. This stove heats like a monster now. I rarely place it above 3 out of 6 on the temp setting. I now have a thermostat hooked up to it so it runs itself. My step father just bought one and refuses to try outside air. IT is freezing in his house and the stove runs all the time using way more pellets than need be. You must be careful when purchasing the unit though. I got lucky as mine has a sealed outdoor air inlet. I have seen ones that only use what they call 50% outside air. This is stupid as the air will come from the point of least resistance. It will not come down a 10 foot 2" pipe from outside, it will do nothing. The best way to test is to place your hand over the inlet on the back of the stove in the store with it running. If you cover the outside air inlet with your hand it should put the fire out. I have tried this many times and in some stoves it did not change the rate of burn at all. These stoves have holes drilled in them to take air from inside regardless of outside air. This totally defeats the purpose. I have the St. Croix Afton Bay stove. So yes I would recommend 1000% an OAK, more so then an wood stove as they use much more air and are fan fed.
  6. Woodstove master

    Woodstove master New Member

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    Fire Honor Society
    I agree that chimney height has nothing to do with wind induced negative pressure. It is the height in relation to the peak of the roof. If it is lower the wind can blow over the roof and into the chimney IE "wind induced negative pressure". I most certainly did go into detail about it on my post "14 October 2007 02:01 AM" Extensively. If you read this you will see I did not say that the height alone is the problem.

    "Do you claim to know more than the industry professionals who build our stoves??"

    No, not exactly, but just because they build the stoves does not make them "experts". Scientific proof does. It does not mean they will tell you it is ok to modify your stove in any way. I know a lot of companies that you could say are "professionals" in their industry but are idiots. These wood stove companies statements are hugely based upon liability. This goes for most companies, especially these days with all the law suits. They will not give statements or directions on how to modify their stoves in any way as it will place all the liability on them for doing so if something goes wrong. This is why they sell "outside air kits" and explain to follow directions exactly or risk fire / injury / death. This does not mean that if we build our own kits that they are not safe. It does mean that if something went wrong it would not be the liability of the manufacturer due to not using approved setup / kit with the unit. The kit can cost $150 for some stoves. I made mine for $23 and is probably better / safer than what I saw in the store. The kit in the store that came directly from the manufacturer was a piece of junk, very flimsy, not sealed well. This would let sparks out if installed as they state. If a backdraft occurred.

    I do believe that if the manufacturers could talk "off the record". They to have modified the stoves themselves to make them work better. The manufacturers are not going to go to the extra effort that I did to make sure my stove seals well, experts or not, it would cost too much money and profits would go down, designs would have to change. This is not to mention that if they go too far they are opening themselves up to further liability if the mods failed and or did not work correctly. The manufacturing process alone does not provide for adequate seal anyhow. Many more things would have to be done. Do the kits work? Yes. Do they work as good as they could? No. Same goes for everything else. There is always room for improvement in any design. Otherwise we would still have the model T. Yes I would modify it also.

    The stove companies are wrong? maybe so, but not all of them. Do they back it with scientific proof, doubt it. At least not all of them. The FDA here in America is a complete and utter joke. They approve all kinds of chemicals in drinks and foods these days that are causing cancer and many other diseases and killing people. FDA is a big deal also. They to are looked at as "professionals" but they are wrong....

    I only used the silicone around the plate that covers the old inside air inlet. This is at the lowest point of the stove in the front where the blower is attached. It is 6" from the base of the firebrick and two plates of steel away. This is the coldest part of the stove ALWAYS! I could put my tongue on it after a full fire has burned for hours and I would not get burned. Not that I would ha ha ha. Therefore there is no heating of the silicone to produce excess chemicals in the house. Otherwise the kit is solid steel.
    My house is not as sealed up as you may think. I have 3 vent pipes. One for above my kitchen stove, and one in each bathroom for ventilation. The one way valves are cheap and do not work well. I open my door several times a day to go outside and when I come back in also...The house is otherwise as tight as I can make it. My humidity levels are at the normal for inside a home. It is nowhere near "high". It just stays at a more constant and normal level now that I have OAK. Not to mention the power savings from not having to run a dual fan humidifier to keep 20% humidity in my house, 20% is very low, humidifier could not keep up with what the stove took out without an OAK.

    "But most of your arguments (possibly all of them?) have been debunked" I am not arguing, this is a discussion forum!

    "All debunked" Please. I don't think they are "all debunked" at all, no way.

    I think you need to look at what this forum was designed for. You have turned it into an argument with your statements against me. I do not want it to be that way. You did not even read what I posted, or you did not understand it? I am only stating what I know with actual proof of seeing it work myself many times over. Seeing many house fires as I posted. Some of my writings are opinions, most are "facts". You should be able to tell them apart if you read what I write. I am giving advice based upon the installation and the specific needs. Basically in my case and experience. Not everything works 100% for everyone else. There are way to many variables. Although you cannot change "scientific facts".

    In reading this forum someone should be able to base their decision on observed facts and or opinions. This is how we learn, this is how we research to find real world answers. Not by calling the companies. Not by "arguing".
  7. tradergordo

    tradergordo Minister of Fire

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    I'm getting misinformation overload from reading your posts. We can definitely agree on one thing - WE NEED SCIENTIFIC TESTING. So far, I haven't seen any that supports the use of OAKs. If you have a link to some controlled studies that would shed some light on this, please post it!

    "Your secondary burn will only happen if there is enough oxygen left over after the primary burn is done"

    With all due respect, you do not understand how modern woodstoves function. Perhaps you should read up on this. Secondary combustion air is supplied directly to the baffles/air tubes/secondary combustion chambers independent of the primary air supply in virtually all modern EPA stoves. This ensures that there is always a supply of oxygen for secondary combustion.

    OK - so how much does the density of oxygen at different temperatures contribute to oxygen supplied per unit volume of air? This is a pretty important question since it seems to be the crux of your argument (argument is defined as "A fact or assertion offered as evidence that something is true" by the way).
    Anyway, using the ideal gas law: PV= NkT
    One mole at standard atmospheric pressure and room temperature will occupy 0.84945116885055 ft^3 of volume.
    The same mole of air at a freezing temperature (say 32 degrees) will occupy 0.791497822860405 ft^3 of volume.

    So on that basis alone, there is about a 7% difference. Now here is where some real testing would have to come into play. What temperature does the cold intake air reach by the time it actually hits the firebox? My guess is that it rapidly warms and expands. And how does this minor difference in expansion affect draft? Remember that as far as draft is concerned, we are talking about the air going from 32 to 1000 vs. 70 to 1000 degrees F.

    My guess is that this makes no difference to the heating performance of the stove because you are going to adjust the air control to achieve the same burn rate with either stove. But I will admit that at full air the stove with the cold air intake MIGHT burn SLIGHTLY hotter and faster (which also slightly increases your risk of overfiring the stove if you normally let it run at its max air setting). I'd still love to see a controlled experiment though. There are a lot of factors - for example maybe as the air expands as it goes from outside to inside it actually slows down the air intake, outside air might also contain a higher moisture content per unit volume, not sure how that might affect things, etc. You also might not get as long a burn time at the MINIMUM air setting which could be more important to a stove owner than a potentially higher temperature burn at max air setting.

    "I agree that chimney height has nothing to do with wind induced negative pressure. It is the height in relation to the peak of the roof. If it is lower the wind can blow over the roof and into the chimney IE “wind induced negative pressure”."

    Sorry, you don't understand this problem at all. We ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT WIND BLOWING DOWN THE CHIMNEY - not sure how many times this needs to be explained or how many different ways it can be explained... when wind blows against one side of your house, it creates positive pressure on that side, and negative pressure on THE OPPOSITE side of the house. As a result, if your OAK intake is in this negative pressure zone, there is a force that wants to pull air down your chimney and out the OAK. IT MAKES NO DIFFERENCE how high above your roof the chimney extends. But again, since no one has produced documentation of home fires that resulted from this, I don't consider it a big risk factor, still it could be a factor that reduces draft at times, and possibly is a safety risk. In the very least I would hope that people avoid installing an OAK intake on the side of their house opposite the prevailing wind.

    Indoor air quality is my biggest concern. You say you are getting plenty of ventilation in your house - but you also say you have positive pressure, so what exactly is drawing the air into your home? I understand you have fan vents, but these are probably only running for a few minutes a day. If there is really positive pressure, how is the air pulled into your home?


    p.s. They keep hospitals (well at least patient areas) cool because bacteria thrives in warm, moist environments. It has nothing to do with oxygen density. The difference in oxygen density from 68 to 72 degrees is negligible.

    "The main reason hospitals are kept cold is that bacteria and germs tend to flourish more in warmer temperatures," says Lori Harris of the Desert Springs Hospital in Las Vegas, Nevada. The temperature in the Desert Springs Hospital emergency and operating rooms is a brisk 68 degrees F (20 degrees C), whereas the lobby is a toastier 72 (22 degrees C).
  8. Woodstove master

    Woodstove master New Member

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    You are right about the misinformation. Sometimes I explain things wrong when I type / think too fast, not sure. Even though I understand how it works. Sorry.

    I agree on the density also. It is a very little benefit if any. I just think the more the better for combustion, so it can only help. Well, just as we all agree colder air is more dense with oxygen. I know we all do as I read the entire post this afternoon. Enough said about that then. Correct, a controlled experiment would be awesome.

    I do understand the "negative pressure on THE OPPOSITE side of the house" but I do still believe the height of the chimney in relation to the peak of the roof is important. It is required in New York to be 2ft above the peak. I will not repeat. But I wonder why it is required then? In my installation manual for the chimney (Simpson Duravent) there is actually a pictorial of the process of the wind accelerating over a roof peak and down the other side into the chimney. Maybe it is wrong? We could save a lot of money if chimneys were shorter. I wonder if this would happen without an OAK? If the chimney was below the peak...

    Indoor air quality is my utmost importance also. You bring up a good point. I am not sure. I will have to look into that one, because now I am concerned.
  9. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    ive read your data , and have only one (yet glaring) item to take up with you. your description of stove manufacturers as "idiots"

    first off, i happen to be a stove manufacturer, and while im still quite a few credit hours short of a doctorate, i do not feel that i am an idiot, and im sure that if i polled the engineers we employ as well as the others in the industry (who im sure are pretty proud of the parchment they have festooning their office walls) would take exception as well.

    secondly, as for your statement about the industry professionals not giving you input on how to "modify" their stoves, they cannot do so as the units undergo testing for UL listing as well as EPA certification. the units must be built to the same specifications that the tested unit was built to in order to maintain that listing and certification. alteration of the unit , or modifications as you put it are illegal.

    as for their OAK kits companies may very well have a kit that they offer, we at esw require outside intake air for all pellet stoves and multifuel stoves, for this reason we supply a kit with each unit , and supply directions for installations which may not fall within the parameters the kit can cover.

    as for making sure that your stove seals, i would expect it to do so in as far as what the design was intended to do, if not then its a deficiency that the manufacturer should correct. and im sure that would be dealt with should the situation warrant it.

    also, the comparison to the model t was pretty disingenuous, modifying an automobile leaves the same liability, if you go out and drop a nitrous oxide system in your car then wrap it around a tree , do you really think the auto manufacturer will be found at fault? same deal with a woodstove, modify it and burn down your house, who foots the bill?

    so, calling us idiots for trying to field a product and protect you from making a possibly dangerous "modification" to your stove by only advising parameters which the unit was tested and ul listed at makes us idiots...

    i think you need to check your mirror idiot
  10. tradergordo

    tradergordo Minister of Fire

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    I think you misunderstood me. The issue of flow reversal due to wind induced negative pressure zones (which can only affect installations with OAKs) has nothing to do with chimney height above the roof or wind blowing down the chimney but I NEVER said that wind blowing down a chimney could not also be another flow reversal / draft problem. Code for chimney height above the roof is very important for any stove installation regardless of OAK use (but in fact if someone did have a poor chimney installation the whole wind down the chimney scenario could be much worse for the person using an OAK, especially if there are structures nearby which tend to cause these downdrafts on a routine basis).

    Well I certainly don't want to cause concern if it isn't warranted, but again this is precisely why a controlled study would be so valuable. Without sophisticated equipment its impossible for an average person to monitor indoor air quality. I think some day in the distant future such monitoring will be standard in "smart homes".
  11. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    ok, if thats the case i apologise, but its still a very uninformed view that the poster has placed out there.
  12. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Mike, I would agree with you about the stove makers not being "idiots" but I think there is a fair bit to be said about Woodstove master's statements about the industry's reluctance to say anything outside the manuals - sometimes I think it's liability related, sometimes it may be profit driven...

    Some things like OAKs are fairly straightforward items - I am sure that a company could publish minimum specs on what would make a safe OAK - what to use for the tubing, type of fittings, etc. - as opposed to selling a kit for $150, that probably cost them under $10 in parts. Is the primary concern liability, or protecting profit margins? (IMHO Nothing wrong w/ making a profit BTW, but sometimes seems like prices cross the line between profit and gouge...)

    Many stove manuals talk about hearth protection, and say "material X or equivalent" - but won't tell you what "equivalent" is, even to the extent of saying what R-value would be acceptable, or giving a common material to reference - i.e. 1/2" Durock... I'm SURE they have some idea, and this is one I can't even see how you'd be violating a listing or exposing yourselves to liability to tell us... (especially if you erred on the conservative side in the comparison)

    I've also seen MANY statements from industry folks, or others in a position to know, that stoves are "tuned" to produce optimum results in the burn lab, doing the EPA burn tests. Also that in many cases the controls are simplified to "idiot proof" the operation for the benefit of the "clueless user" - Granted it doesn't come direct from the car makers, but there is lots of knowhow out there on how to retune our cars for optimum driving performance, so why can't we re-tune our stoves? Would there be benefit in being able to adjust some of the air controls in response to wood type? What about adding a way to fully shut off primary and secondary air in case of chimney fire / runaway stove? What about attempting to retrofit a thermostatic control to a stove that didn't come with one? IOW, there are lots of potential mods that many of us (who at least like to think we're clueful) would like to try

    Even something potentially simple and I would suspect unlikely to affect listings, like replacing the legs on a Hearthstone Mansfield (Nice stove, except many don't like the "duck feet") we are told "don't even think of it" as opposed to "This is the spec on the leg, we aren't liable for what you do with it"

    So I'm not calling you idiots, but I'm grouched about the information you hold back on us - even though I understand why you do... (I would love to change the rules on liability for such advice, IMHO there shouldn't be any)

    BTW, this isn't specifically directed at you personally or Englander as such, you just catch it in your role as "representative member of the industry"

    Gooserider
  13. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    I am just sitting here wondering about a nitrous set up for the 30-NC. Hmmm...

    Now that would be some major secondary burn.
  14. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Nah... Go for the spray mist LOX injectors..... If it's good enough for NASA, it should be good enough for the stove! :p

    Gooserider
  15. Woodstove master

    Woodstove master New Member

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    Utica, NY
    First of all I want to state that it is never my intention to get anyone angry at me and appologise if I did. I was not talking about wood stove manufacturers, but yes industry in general. I Have not dealt with stove manufacturers much but have dealt with many other industry manufacturers where I meant they can sometimes be "idiots".

    My God Mother had a Cadillac Katera and had the car in the shop 16 times over a two year period between New York and florida. She barely drove the car. This went as far as fighting the manufacturer / district management of several areas to rectify the problem. The answer from the top was that "she does not drive the car far enough daily to charge the battery". The car would not start at home and had all kinds of crazy electrical problems. She regularly drove less then a mile a day to the grocery store. When the manufacturer could not fix the car I was asked by family to look at it. I have two years in electrical engineering of robotics. I was a little reluctant as to the complexity of new cars today. In knowing sometimes even the experts look over the simple stuff, decided to take a look. Within one minute of opening the hood I found the problem. I lifted the fireproof shroud from around the battery and found a burned up positive wire coming from the alternator going to the battery. Wherever it touched the side of the battery was burned up, you could see it was shorting out the cells. I called the district manager and advised him. He is one of their top mechanics / representative for the north east region. He was unsure that was the problem. I was floored! I told him that the cable was run under the fireproof shroud making it too close to the battery and shorting out the cells. If he replaced the battery and the cable and it did not fix the car, I would pay for all of it. This repair was made and the car has never had a problem since in 3 years.
    I also found a manufacturing defect in 1/2 our new ambulances and had to repair it myself as FORD could not find out what was wrong with the electrical system after 6 months.

    I know this is off the subject but I am just trying to prove a point on where my statement came from. Sorry if I misled anyone.
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