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Poor draft? Smoke in the house

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by royal, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. royal

    royal New Member

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    Ok so like it says ,im having a problem with smoke in the house. I have a country striker s160. In the beginning of the season I didnt notice any problem like this, but I did clean the chimney before I started burning.
    I am noticing 2 things here.The first is when I am starting a fire smoke pours out from what I think are the secondary vents, at least that is what I think they are, behind the side panels of the stove and they go to the pipes inside the stove with air holes in them?The smoke leaking from these vents will last from 1-2 minutes until the kindling really takes off. The second is Im noticing smoke leaking from between the ceiling support box and the double wall slip pipe. This worries me a little more because it will continue to smoke even after the stove is up to temp. It doesnt just leak smoke all the time, but there is the occasional big puff of smoke from it.
    So this is what I think is happening. When the joint between the ceiling box and the double wall pipe is not blowing smoke into the house, it is probably pulling colder air into the pipe. Then causing excessive creasote to build up fast and cause the lack of strong draft to keep the smoke going up and out.No matter how slow I open the door smoke pours into the house. When I did clean the pipes they were pretty clean untill about the roof line then got very dirty.
    Now the possible fix. I can grab the slip pipe and move it about 3/4" up untill it hits the box, and spin it around. Should this be like that? Since it is double wall slip pipe can I just take out the screws, lenghten the pipe, and put new screws in? The old holes should be no big deal right, they dont hit the liner.It is supposed to warm up here this week, I will clean it again and see what happens. I am going to try and put some pics up but I cant guarantee anything. Any help would be appreciated, I love the heat, but im sick of dealing with the smoke. Thanks Mike 134.JPG 137.JPG

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  2. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

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    What's the total length of your chimney? Any horizontal runs in the pipe?
  3. royal

    royal New Member

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    Oh the total length has to be 15' plus and it is straight up.
  4. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

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    Sounds short, the manual list any minimums? I took a look, if you are at 15' you are at the minimum. Consider adding a couple feet?
  5. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    For some reason you are getting lazy draft. Does the cap have a screen on it? If so, check it out and see if it's getting plugged up with ash. Do you see/smell smoke leaking around the slip pipe after the pipe is warmed up?

    Can you post a shot of the chimney on the roof? That may also give a clue.
  6. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    If the smoke issue is from a cold start, what you have is cold air flowing down the stack into the insert, and it will push smoke out of any orifices in the stove. at least until you get the negative pressure reversed and the air is flowing up the stack rather than down. Once you get a decent draft going, the smoke issue should stop. I run into this problem during the shoulder season occasionally, but now we are burning 24/7 and this is not an issue.
  7. royal

    royal New Member

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    I will dig up the manual and see what it says about total length. It is more of a grate than a screen on top.

    stack.jpg stove.jpg
  8. royal

    royal New Member

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    I have no idea how those ended up upside down. Maybe that's why the smoke comes into the house.
    Dairyman, rideau, milleo and 2 others like this.
  9. royal

    royal New Member

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    I do agree with the cold start but it still seems a problem even when stove is burning good. No matter how slow I open the door smoke pours out of it. Unless it is flat out roaring
  10. PLAYS WITH FIRE

    PLAYS WITH FIRE Minister of Fire

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    Maybe the cap is really restrictive?
  11. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

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    Good one.
  12. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

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    +1 Need a closeup but the cap looks crudded up.
  13. royal

    royal New Member

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    The cap is crudded up for sure but nowhere near blocked off. I lit a fire with some real dry wood from the basement. About 1 minute after starting it the sound of crumpling tin foil starts. It happens every time i light a fire. I'm assuming its creosote floating around inside the pipe. And there's black crud all over the driveway and ground.I only burned maybe 1-1.5 cord of wood so far, how could there be that much build up from that? I put a lighter near that ceiling box and pipe and it sucked the flame right in it. How come no one seems concerned with this loose joint ? I am thinking that the "cold" room temperature air is entering the pipe mixing with the hot gas going out and cooling it so much that it is causing the moisture to condense and cause excessive build up. All wood contains moisture.
    When I cleaned it preseason it was fairly clean down below roof level but the top was closed up close to half way and the cap had some crap on it. Within the next couple days I'm going up to clean it and ill take some pics. Also ill measure it. Then ill take apart the slip joint to clean the stuff off the blanket inside the top of the stove. I have never cleaned it like this before , usually I take the shelf and bricks right out of the stove and clean it that way.
    Thank you all for your help any other ideas are appreciated this is rather frustrating. Ill let you know what I find and put up pics. I don't dare go on the roof right now with the ice up there I don't do we'll with heights. Later mike
  14. royal

    royal New Member

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    Also will adding just a couple feet have that much impact? Is there some sort of chart that shows draft with different lengths and temps? I thought I remember seeing 1 but can't remember where.
  15. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

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    Sounds crudded up to me and thats your draft problem. I won't tell you how to fix your leaky pipe since I have an insert and others here are experts but if you got creosote in your driveway you got creosote in the pipe.

    Cord and a half of decent wood can cause a build up, if it's at all green then sooner. What are you burning?
  16. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

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    Read some old posts. Some have had night and day differences by adding 2' of pipe. With better draft to start you may have less creosote forming over time as well.
  17. royal

    royal New Member

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    I'm burning mostly limb wood that seems plenty dry and the smaller pieces light up and burn hot so don't know. There are some bigger chunks that get thrown in after it gets going. 95% of it didn't need to be split. Every once in a while there will be a wet piece that hisses and you can see the moisture boiling out, but not often.
  18. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

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    Oak? Good chance you have some less than ideal wood, it's a common problem. When did you get the stove? If you are getting heat out of it go ahead but clean often. I'm guessing you are going to be surprised how much creosote you get next time you clean which sounds like it should be sooner than later.

    Unsplit wood takes a long time to dry to 20% or less.
  19. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    When you say mostly limb pieces, are you talking about pieces that are still whole for the most part? Or is the majority of your wood split? If it's still whole, those pieces can trap a lot of moisture for a long time and cause problems.

    pen
  20. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    Your house might also be drafting. Seal in and around the ceiling light fixture boxes and around the attic opening with caulk so the chimney becomes better at drafting than the house.

    My last house had this issue and it took a while to track down enough leaks.

    Matt
  21. royal

    royal New Member

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    Yes limb wood like tree tops. Most pieces are 4-5"and down in circumference and dont need to be split. But there are some larger pieces that I split. It looks plenty dry but I am by no means experienced with wood burning. It is all cracked on the ends but maybe like you said it holds moisture when not split. Not sure of all the species but some cherry , walnut and some maple and whatever else. I should get a moisture meter to see for the Heck of it. Thanks again for all the help.
  22. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

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    Royal let us know how you make out after cleaning or whatever you do and post a pic. Always good to close the thread and everyone can learn something.
  23. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    Royal,

    If you are seeing creosote around, and feel there is some build up in the chimney, I'd cleanthe flue NOW>

    You have an adjustable stovepipe. Simply remove that section (which you want to adjust anyway), take it outside and clean it. Attach a heavy trash bag to the support box with duct tape. slit a hole in it to one side, near the top, big enough for your chimney brush to fit through, and sweep from the bottom. The creosote will all fall into the bag. Take the bag off, seal it, clean up any stuff that has fallen on the stove or floor (won't be much...perhaps a small dusting), reattach the pipe, hopefully with a slightly better hit than you now have. Add a few feeet to the chimney as soon as the weather gets better.

    The smoke coming out of the stove and chimney joints sounds like you simply don't have a hot flue /enough draft. Creosote build up and travelling creosote supports that.

    Let us know what happens.

    Good luck.
  24. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Rotated pics. Hard to be sure but that cap looks plugged to me.
  25. royal

    royal New Member

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    Thank you for rotating the pics. I cleaned the stove and pipes today and it was surprisingly dirty for such little burning. I did notice that at the joints it was built up more than the rest. And the cap was pretty bad. The first pic is of the inside of the cap. The second is from the roof looking down. The third is the creosote that fell when I cleaned the pipe.

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