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Oxygen starved fire or so it would seem

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by skidud, Oct 17, 2010.

  1. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    South Puget Sound, WA
    EPA stoves need more draft than stoves of yore. If that is what you are comparing chimney layouts to, be sure you are also comparing like stoves... and like houses. A leaky shack with a rusty 4ft pipe on an old Ashley tin can stove is not on the same planet as your air tight house and a modern stove. Cram a cheap piece of pipe in the top of the flue, try dry wood, and do this when the temps are at least below 50. The stove should respond briskly. If not, then go searching for the mouse nest in the air passages.

    And give your wife a hug. She is correct, we are nuts. Helping people can be an addiction, but there are worse things in life.

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  2. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Any body else besides ivy start their fire with a propane torch?
  3. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Ivy, or the pretend Ivy, probably heats his house with gas and shows up every once in a while to either get banned or show his posterior. One of only three assholes on this site in the five years I have been here.

    And I will pull the trigger on him again in a heartbeat. The lack of condescending assholes are what make this site as great as it is.
  4. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Thanks for clearing that up for me. :lol:
  5. Wooddust

    Wooddust Member

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    Missouri
    Great thread.

    I'd bet the stove works great with right wood and some practice. I have to retrain myself every year on one stove or the other, i put to much wood in to start, some wet wood no doubt, and get frustrated.

    Usually two fingers of wild Turkey on ice helps. Never have used a propane torch inside to light the stove. I did use one once to light my pipe and it is fast.

    I have a Hampton 300 stove for the big room and I have never yet figured out where the air gets in or where it comes out in the fire box.
  6. daleeper

    daleeper Minister of Fire

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    NC MO
    That line about the devil buying your stove is the best I've read in awhile. Thanks for the laugh.

    I agree with the potential of something in the air passage somewhere after reading your newspaper burn test. You mentioned storage in the garage, there could be any number of things plugging up the system including mud dauber or wasp nests. I'm not familiar with that stove, but do your best to check out the air passages. It is most likely though a combination of things that is why it is so difficult to pin it on one item. Less than ideal draft, wood, and a partial block of the air passage can all add up to what you are experiencing.

    Your wife has us pegged by the way, we are nuts. Welcome to Hearth.com
  7. tutu_sue

    tutu_sue New Member

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    I found a diagram of the air passages in the manual.

    Attached Files:

  8. Battenkiller

    Battenkiller Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, lots of luck pulling air through that maze with a small fire and a marginal flue.

    Get a big fire going with lots of coals, add three fair size splits, leave the door cracked until the new wood is fully involved, then slowly close it. If it don't take off within five minutes with a with a big fire going, there is something wrong with that stove somewhere.

    FWIW, I always leave the door cracked when starting a fire in a cold stove. My old stove has nothing like the sort of restricted airflow as is found in an EPA stove, but it takes off like a rocket when I crack the door in the beginning. Why wait longer to get warm just so I can close the door? I have never once left the door open and forgot about it, but I've closed the door and forgot to shut the air down or close the bypass more times than I care to admit. I also have left the room with our open fireplace going on numerous occasions. Been here 20 years and the place is still standing.
  9. skidud

    skidud Member

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    Well, I blew air through all the passages and really didn't get much other than some cob webs and dead beetles out of them. Nothing major enough to cause the starvation like I was seeing. I went up this morning, pulled off the rain cap and put a 2' length of vent pipe on top of my chimney. I started a rip roaring fire like normal and after about 20 minutes, I locked the door shut. It dwindled a little but stayed burning. I left the damper on full open and started to get around for church.

    About a half hour later I come back and the fire is still burning and burning really really hot. Problem solved!!!! I was so excited and relieved that I got it working. I still don't understand how on earth more chimney length helped my issue but it surely did. I didn't change the wood or anything, it has to be the added chimney. Like I've said multiple times, I had good draft. So much draft that about three days ago I opened the door and blew the ashes when it was dead cold. The ashes swirled around and then sucked right up the flue. The other thing I can't figure is why a stove that has insufficient draft would suck air in so hard when you crack the door. I always thought they were the opposite and tried to push the air back into the room. In the end, I guess I was just wrong. I thought my draft was strong enough but apparently you need a really really strong draft for this thing.

    Thanks for all your help guys, you certainly nailed my issue. I was so certain draft wasn't my issue but it was. If I would have just put on the added length of chimney from the get go, I would have never had this issue. Then again, I probably would have never gotten to know you guys on this fine site.

    I got to leave for church now and probably won't be around the computer until tomorrow so don't expect any quick responses from me. Thanks again.
  10. Battenkiller

    Battenkiller Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, your draft was sufficient to pass unrestricted through the open door but not strong enough to pull air through the labyrinth of passages inside your stove. Surprised only 2' did the trick, sounds like your chimney was just below the threshold of working within the normal flue temp range, so a bit more height was what was needed. Anyway, glad you solved your problem. ;-)
  11. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Experience has taught us that many modern EPA stoves need better draft to pull air through the secondaries and for the air wash system. Your draft is weak due to mild outdoor temps. When it gets cold, draft will improve. By adding the extra pipe now, you will extend the stove's burning season so that it works well in mild weather and great in cold weather.

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