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Problems with new Jotul C550

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Woodstocker, Nov 27, 2011.

  1. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    THat's what is supposed to happen- extends your burn time, slows the fire down. If you had left it there it would have probably gone a few more hours. To get more heat out of it and have it burn faster you could have opened the air. Moving to the front as you did also works.

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  2. jnorthway

    jnorthway Member

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2012
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    Loc:
    CT
    I just installed a 550.
    Running through the "break in" fires now.
    I too noticed that even though the top of the insert was running about 300 degrees, the auto fan didn't go on. It seemed to me it was certainly hot enough to come on.
    I'll try moving the coals to the front of the firebox as suggested by others here and see how that works out.

    Other than that, I'm pretty stoked (shameless pun) to finally own a Jotul!
  3. cottonwoodsteve

    cottonwoodsteve Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2010
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    Loc:
    Northern California
    The key word here is INSERT. There have been other people saying "where is the heat" with inserts after having or comparing to free standing stoves.
    We have a free standing wood stove and an fireplace wood insert. The free standing wood stove puts out easily more than twice the heat for the same amount of wood.
    Is an insert much better than a standard fireplace? Yes, but compared to a free standing wood stove, the wood stove is much better
    Chimneys almost identical height, same wood , same operator.
    My opinions;
    The whiney insert blower doesn't move as much air as normal convection around a freestanding stove.
    The air from the insert vent is relatively low volume and so hot it goes straight to the ceiling. We have to use a fan on the side to help deflect and distribute it.
    The free standing stove has stove pipe to radiate heat into room. Each 2 foot 6 inch diameter section is about 24 x 19 inches of surface area. Basically 3 sections of pipe is almost the same area as the radiating areas of fire box. All insert heat goes up and out the enclosed insulated chimney pipe and warms your neighborhood but not your house.
    We warm our living room with a stove two rooms away, because the living room insert fan is too annoying and it just doesn't put out the heat.
  4. 12pack

    12pack New Member

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    Westchester County N.Y.
  5. Stone1061

    Stone1061 New Member

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    Dec 6, 2012
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    Having used the Jotul Rockland 550 for a year I have concluded insert stoves are a joke and the Jotul Rockland is a huge waste of money. Like an earlier post said, all the heat goes up the chimney to heat your neighborhood but does little to heat your house. Unless you run the fan full blast there is little or no heat eminating from this stove. Because the insert is insulated, you don't even heat up the chimney!! Think about it, without the fan riunning full blast this stove is a joke. When the fan is running at any meaningful speed it sounds as if you have a jet engine running in your house. Also, when you might need it most during a power outage, oops, no fan, and your house is still freezing even though you spend thousands on this joke of a high end stove. Do not by this stove, it might look pretty in your living room, but that's all it's good for, looking pretty.... oh, and that's only after you clean the glass after every burn. It takes the absolutely driest wood to get the stove hot enought to even get the fan to turn on automatically. To turn the fan on manually you need to find a child with tiny fingers to get to the switch which is behind the narrow bottom vent grate. Do not buy an insert stove and do everything you can to somehow fit a free standing stove in the space you have. A free standing stove will radiate lots of heat without fans, noise, and consuming electricity.
    To summarize: The Jotul 550 costs too much, radiates little heat, requires electricity, and is very loud with the fan running. This stove stinks.
    prezes13 and Soundchasm like this.
  6. jnorthway

    jnorthway Member

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2012
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    13
    Loc:
    CT

    Whoa! Tell us how you really feel!

    Some of us simply don't have the room for a full stove. This will be the 5th year we have heated our house 100% with a wood insert. I run it 24/7. Is it as good as a stove? Nope, but it works quite well for us. Our house is a 2000 Sq. Foot single level with an interior chimney and an open floor plan.

    Cottonwoods post above sums it up pretty well, and I agree. If I could fit a full size stove I would do it, but the reality is that I can't easily do that.

    COST - Personally, I think all stoves/inserts cost too much! Our first insert was a used Vermont Castings Winterwarm Cat insert. After 4 years with that we needed to upgrade and dropped $3000.00 on the Jotul. It hurt a little to do that, but we had proved we could heat our home comfortably with wood. Since we only spend about $375.00 a year on fuel (1 ton of Envi blocks, and gas cost to gather and prep wood), it made sense for us.
    RADIATING HEAT - Inserts don't radiate as much heat as a stove. But I did find out (quite by accident) with the Jotul that if the surround is off it radiates heat out into the room BETTER than the fan does. If the power goes out, the surround is coming off and we'll be just fine.

    FAN NOISE - It is loud on high, we run it about 3/4 speed.

    The Jotul is not perfect, but so far it appears to be a well made consistent burner. It is an appropriate for our needs, because it fits our house.... And we like the way ours smells.... ;)
  7. Mitch Newton

    Mitch Newton Member

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    173
    Loc:
    Beavercreek, Ohio
    What is a "Fusible Link Damper"?
  8. Stone1061

    Stone1061 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2012
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    2
    Ok, maybe the inserts that require electricity to produce any heat aren't a complete joke, they do look pretty and if you don't mind the constant drone of a jet engine in your living room, they do throw more heat an the old Heatalator system like the one my house came with. Oh, I forgot to mention, the heat sensor on the auatomatic fan seting is obviously set way too high since it doesn't turn the fan on until the stove has been burning blazing hot for hours, and even then possibly not. We have had the sensor replaced twice thinking there was something wrong, but apparently it's designed that wa (don't forget you need tiny thin fingers to even get to the switch... what were they thinking when they designed this thing?). So typically we are forced to leave the fan on in the manual position and we wake up in the morning to the roar of the fan in the living room and a stove blowing cold air because the realistic hot burn time for this stove is no more than maybe 5-6 hours, with luck. Yes some folks can only fit an insert, but recognize it's a big compromise.
  9. jotulguy

    jotulguy Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2010
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    341
    Loc:
    central Pa
    Stone.... the sensor is a normally open switch that comes on at a temp of 110 degrees..... any thing lower then that and in the summer with the sun shining on it through a window would turn it on. May I ask what state you live in? And who is your dealer that you purchased the stove from?
  10. jnorthway

    jnorthway Member

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2012
    Messages:
    13
    Loc:
    CT
    Stone,

    While I completely agree that a stove is greater than insert, I think you've got a few things going on that are making your experience less than optimal.

    I am far from an expert on wood burning and I am new to the C550 (only been running it since Thanksgiving day). The purpose of forums like this are to help others, so that is what I'll try to do by offering some observations\suggestions.

    I agree on the front grill design. It's ridiculous that they buried the rocker switch under the grill like that. They could have at least made it line up better! Ideally they should have omitted a slot or two and that would have addressed the issue.

    Initially my experience with the temp sensor\snapstat was not what I expected either. But I made minor adjustment to my method. When I bring the stove back up in the AM, I pull a little pile of the hot coals to the front of the fire pan. This keeps the heat on the snapstat much more consistently and trips the snapstat on within 1\2 hour of lighting the stove. And some mornings the fan is still running!

    Burn times are very subjective. I would say I can legitimately get 6-7 hours consistently. Sometimes I get 8 hours, but not consistently. The only burn time that matters to me is that I have a substantial bed of coals in the AM to bring the stove back up without a fire starter. I find this stove to be very consistent in that I always have a significant amount of glowing coals that I can use for this purpose. My general burn temp range is 350-700 degrees.

    Questions:
    What are burning for fuel?
    How big your house and what is the layout?


    My suggestion, if you have not done it yet, is to read the ENTIRE (15 pages and growing!) "Jotul C550 tip and tricks" thread. It is linked above in 12packs post. I learned a LOT about my insert in the hour or two it took to read that thread and some others that were referenced by that link.

    It put me much further up on the curve than I would be right now. I highly recommend it.
    It took me at least 1 season to get tuned in to my old insert. I already feel more in tune with the Jotul (because of this site) and I've only owned it for 3 weeks!

    Jon
    jotulguy likes this.
  11. kingquad

    kingquad Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    Pennsylvania
    Fancy name for a fire damper. The Link that holds it open melts at a certain temp. and the door closes.
  12. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

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    Long Island NY
    jotulguy likes this.
  13. A2Woodburner

    A2Woodburner New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2013
    Messages:
    70
    I bought this unit in December as a replacement of a much older insert that I had been using to heat my 1100sqft ranch home. The reason to replace was the fans on the older unit were going bad and couldn't find replacement parts, as well as the pros that look after my chimney said I would burn at least half or less as much wood with a newer insert and get the same amount of heat than with my old one. This is my sixth year heating my house full time with wood, and have heated with wood stoves, etc. when I have lived in other parts of the Northern climes of this Country.

    After doing some quick research, and also have past experience with Jotul, I jumped at the opportunity to be able to purchase one of this product. What a HUGE mistake! And it has become an incredible waste of money, personal energy, time. This is the top worst purchasing experiences of a large item I have had. My house is consistently between 5-10 degrees colder...old insert kept my place at a very comfortable 72-78, and now I feel fortunate that I can get up too 68 and maintain it. Usually this unit keeps my house between 64-68. The insert itself gets very very hot, but the output to the rest of the house is minimal and just moving from the room where the fire is to the next room, which is a full open passage, is noticeable.

    The wood I use is dry, and after having the sales rep check it out with a moisture meter, and blaming moisture content on the lack of heat, I now make sure and have taken steps to ensure the moisture in my wood being burned is between 5-15%, and certainly no more than 20%. There initially was a problem with the installer and how he messed up the stack height, but that has been resolved, which was an incredible pain and hassle. I read through all 16+ pages of the suggested thread in an earlier post on how to maximize the heat output of this model, and that has helped a bit.

    But overall, this unit just rots, and my experience has been that I made a $3500-$4000 mistake that cannot be rectified. I have to agree with Stone 1061. And also have to learn to live with this substandard wood burning insert. What a waste...
  14. AppalachianStan

    AppalachianStan Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2011
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    557
    Loc:
    Clover SC
    It would be nice to see someone who know how to run these EPA stove come by and shows how to use the stove at it best and look at the setup to make sure it is right. Just saying.
  15. A2Woodburner

    A2Woodburner New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2013
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    70
    And another thing that really irks me about this experience with this Jotul and the local company I bought it from...the customer service stinks so bad! The salesman along with the factory rep was supposed to come out and check out what was going on back in early January. The factory rep cancelled twice in three days, at my inconvenience of leaving work right away to meet up with them. When I called Jotul NA and spoke with a gal on the phone, telling her what was going on, she put me through to the voicemail of the factory representative who is in my area. He NEVER called back! And there has been and is very very poor customer service from the local company to assist in addressing the issues with this insert. Again, I really have nothing good to say about this insert and the experience.
  16. jnorthway

    jnorthway Member

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2012
    Messages:
    13
    Loc:
    CT
    A2,

    Sorry you're having such a rough go with your insert. Something has got to be wrong with your setup if you can't heat a house of that size with a 550. What was your old unit? I had a Vermont Castings Insert that projected out from the fireplace, so it had a lot more iron "in the room" radiating heat as well as the fan. We used it for several years until we added a large edition to the house and the beat up old VC could not keep up with heating roughly 1500 sq feet.

    I got a lot of excellent info from the tips and tricks thread. There was also a link somewhere in that thread where someone details their best method for starting a fire, and more importantly what they did to keep it running well and load it up for the night time burn. His ideas helped me learn this stove real quick and I've been very happy with heat output I get.

    Our wood isn't perfectly seasoned and dry, so I use 2 Envi blocks to build a platform (with approx 12-16 inches in between them) for my splits every AM. We run it all day like that.
    Around 10:00PM I rake all the hot coals forward, I throw a nice big split into the hollow in the back and then load it up for the night. I have never had a night that I didn't have a nice bed of coals waiting for me in the AM.

    I did end up insulating around the stove pipe with a layer of Roxul, and that really forced the heat to the surround so it radiates quite a bit of heat on it's own. It also got the chimney nice and warm!
    Most mornings the chimney is still radiating a ton of heat into the room.

    I'd also suggest that you look at whatever convection patterns you have in your house since the new stove. They're probably different than your old stove's patterns. I've always used 1 small 6" fan to move air around, but with the new insert I had to move it a few feet and it made a big difference.

    Lastly, this site is full of really knowledgeable, helpful people. Post up some more info about your situation, keep an open mind and maybe they can help you get better results.

    Jon


  17. A2Woodburner

    A2Woodburner New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2013
    Messages:
    70
    Thanks for the support, Jon. Had I come across this thread before making the purchase, there is no way I would have bought this unit.

    My old insert was fit very snug into my fireplace opening, and very little of it stuck out into the room. It may have been a Vermont Castings, but since it was so old, it was hard to tell. Over the years of use, I/we did many upgrades including an insulating blanket around the stove pipe which was the final step in making it such a great unit for me, overall. I was chucking a lot of wood into it's massive firebox though. The is the one and ONLY good thing about this Jotul Rockland 550...I am burning way so much less wood than I could ever really even imagine.

    From what the installer (toolshed of a guy), and salesman (indifferent to say the least) have checked out, all is set up properly now. I should say I am not new to heating with wood. I have heated over the years in different locations for about the equivalent of 15 years or so. I am having no problem starting the fire, and getting the unit extremely hot over the course of an hour. I do stoke it with a "V" pattern on the bottom after raking the coals to the sides and from the back of the unit. Then I put a reverse "V" on top of the initial restarter kindling/wood. If need be, I use a couple of sticks of fatwood to help start everything back up. Then I lay one or two larger pieces (3-5 inch splits) across the "V" and continue to build from there as everything heats up and burns hot. I keep the door propped open just a tad, and then when it is too hot to the touch, or I know it is all heated up, I close the door, but keep the damper all the way open for a while longer, like up to an hour, and keep adding fuel.

    I chock it as full as I can for the night and dampen it down to about 1/4 or so shut, and at times, all the way shut. When I wake up about 5 AM, there is a nice bed of coals, and I start it back up for the day since I leave around 6 AM for work. It should be noted that even though my brick and the unit is warm to the touch when I wake up and check it out in the morning, my house is usually in the high 50s, from being in the mid to high 60s before going to bed. It heats the house fairly quickly to a couple or four degrees warmer within an hour, but to get any type of real heat out of it, there is no way. I am not retired and don't have another to check out the fire throughout the day while I am at work.

    I do get home somewhere between 4-6 PM so I understand and have no problem with me coming home to a cold house (56-58 degrees) at the end of the day. My main complaint is that it never really warms my house back up again as my old insert did. In fact, I would have to sometimes throw the covers off in the back bedroom where I sleep because it got nice and toasty in my house overnight. There are sometimes in the middle of the night when it does feel as if my house is nice and warm, something one can just sense, and there is good heat output, but whenever I get up and check it out, all is about the same, and I add some more fuel to the fire.

    All external floor fans have served to do with this insert is make my house colder. I have ceiling fans that I have used for all the years I am burning 24/7 with this set up, and at times, a floor fan in different places to help direct the air into the other parts of my house. I have even pointed the floor fan at the insert from the adjoining room to force the cold air from the floor into the unit so that more air can be warmed up and recirculated. Again, all this really serves to do is make everything colder.

    So hindsight is 20/20 and in retrospect, I should have just searched around and found some sort of replacement fans for my old insert, like the friend I sold it too did, and gone about my business. I do find this forum and the people who post up on it very very helpful, and have given me ideas and tricks to try in order to maximize the little this thing has to offer and failed to deliver. Keep the ideas coming, and I will keep researching it out and tweaking. I will probably invest in a stove pipe insulating blanket again after this burning season is over. Thanks again! Jon...


    P.S. One flaw that I forgot to put out there and ask is that there is a three inch gap at the bottom of this unit from each side of my fireplace box walls. Even with my continued prodding about maybe this one is too small and they mismeasured or misordered or misdelivered, they tell me that all is OK and this spacing doesn't matter and shouldn't effect the output and performance of the insert. My gut begs to differ and I am about to stuff a bunch of insulation in between just to check it out and make sure, including laying some insulation right on top of the unit, then putting the surrounds back on. Thought?
  18. Redbarn

    Redbarn Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    Messages:
    208
    Loc:
    SE PA
    We comfortably heat 2000 sq ft of a 200 year old house (think drafts & so,so insulation) with a Jotul Rockland.

    However, it wasn't an easy learning process.
    Took me until the 2nd year to figure out how to run it.
    The secret is to use really dry wood, pack it tight, get it real hot and learn to play the air control.

    These stoves are not appliances, they are instruments.
    When you learn to play it, it just pours out heat.

    Not what a new owner wants to read, but thats the way it is.
  19. Ansky

    Ansky Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2013
    Messages:
    109
    Loc:
    central CT
    I've only had my jotul 550 for about 4 weeks now, and I'm pretty happy with it. I have a 1850sf 2 story colonial and burn 24/7 and I'm not really usin oil anymore. It keeps my 1st floor at about 68 and upstairs 67. I did set my thermostat to 66 at 6am and I hear the oil burner go on about then, so I do have the oil heating the house for about an hour each morning. Without that, the house would get down to about 62 in the morning. I wouldn't care about that, but my wife complains that is too cold for her and our two kids, 4 and 6 yrs old. But in the morning I ALWAYS have a nice bed of hot coals, and just need to throw some thin splits on, and within minutes, I have a raging fire again.

    My only complaint is how much wood I'm going through. I burn through a full wheel barrow of wood each day...about 25 16" splits each day. I don't know what that will equate to for a full season, but I think it will be a lot!
  20. A2Woodburner

    A2Woodburner New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2013
    Messages:
    70
    The splits of oak and ash I use are very dry now, between 5%-20% on the moisture meter per all standard recommendations and manuals. I'll try to pack it tight from now on, and continue to play the damper for air control. Whether I want to read this or not, that is not the way it should be or was pumped up to be.

    I'll say it again and again, over and over, until I am proved first hand differently with my insert, this product is worthless and a complete waste of really good hard earned money and personal energy/time.
  21. aansorge

    aansorge Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2011
    Messages:
    719
    Loc:
    Southern Minnesota
    It does seem like a chunk of people are having issues with this unit producing good heat. Must be a finicky stove.

    I do not agree with A2 that all inserts don't heat well. My old lopi cranked out the heat and my current zc fireplace seems to do better than the rockland... It's 74 to 77in 2/3rds of the house and 70 in the rest (2000 sq ft above ground, 1000 below and 26 degrees out). Still, when it gets Minnesota cold out it does need some help.
  22. A2Woodburner

    A2Woodburner New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2013
    Messages:
    70
    I did not say that "all inserts don't heat well." I say that this one doesn't heat well. And right on about being too finicky. Nothing should be this temperamental. I had an old insert like aansorge has, and experienced those temps in my house no problem, and became accustomed to that as the norm. I was sold that this insert would do the same, no problem, if not better.

    For example, I just came home and my house was 67. There is a really good and hot bed of coals leftover from this afternoon. I just packed the stove, opened up the damper, and have everything all set for the evening before I go to bed, when I will restock it. In just that short amount of time to get everything all situated, my house temp dropped 2 degrees. This is common with this insert. And temps outside right now here in Michigan are 33. This is another factor which leads me to believe this is really a unit that doesn't work well.
  23. rkofler

    rkofler Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2011
    Messages:
    129
    Loc:
    Long Island
    From what the installer (toolshed of a guy), and salesman (indifferent to say the least) have checked out, all is set up properly now. I should say I am not new to heating with wood. I have heated over the years in different locations for about the equivalent of 15 years or so. I am having no problem starting the fire, and getting the unit extremely hot over the course of an hour. I do stoke it with a "V" pattern on the bottom after raking the coals to the sides and from the back of the unit. Then I put a reverse "V" on top of the initial restarter kindling/wood. If need be, I use a couple of sticks of fatwood to help start everything back up. Then I lay one or two larger pieces (3-5 inch splits) across the "V" and continue to build from there as everything heats up and burns hot. I keep the door propped open just a tad, and then when it is too hot to the touch, or I know it is all heated up, I close the door, but keep the damper all the way open for a while longer, like up to an hour, and keep adding fuel.

    An hour sounds like a long time to have the air all the way open. I find the heat really starts to build when I shut it down a quarter. As long as there are some visible flames you are good. Sometimes after about 10 minutes with the air cut a quarter I will crack the door open for 30 seconds or so just to get the flames roaring, then close the door and maybe cut the air to half at that point.

    I chock it as full as I can for the night and dampen it down to about 1/4 or so shut, and at times, all the way shut. When I wake up about 5 AM, there is a nice bed of coals, and I start it back up for the day since I leave around 6 AM for work. It should be noted that even though my brick and the unit is warm to the touch when I wake up and check it out in the morning, my house is usually in the high 50s, from being in the mid to high 60s before going to bed. It heats the house fairly quickly to a couple or four degrees warmer within an hour, but to get any type of real heat out of it, there is no way. I am not retired and don't have another to check out the fire throughout the day while I am at work.

    On a cold night, I don't think you can expect your house temp to maintain all night. You are going to lose at least 5 or 6 degrees. I'm assuming you have another heat source? Why don't you try getting the house up to 73 before going to bed. If you lose 10 degrees overnight at least you are still in the 60s.


    P.S. One flaw that I forgot to put out there and ask is that there is a three inch gap at the bottom of this unit from each side of my fireplace box walls. Even with my continued prodding about maybe this one is too small and they mismeasured or misordered or misdelivered, they tell me that all is OK and this spacing doesn't matter and shouldn't effect the output and performance of the insert. My gut begs to differ and I am about to stuff a bunch of insulation in between just to check it out and make sure, including laying some insulation right on top of the unit, then putting the surrounds back on. Thought?[/quote]

    Can you post a picture of the 3 inch gap? Doesn't sound right.

    I have no complaints with this insert, this is only my second winter. Cut my oil consumption significantly and my house is typically warmer than it would be if we were still heating with just oil.

    You will get there, stick with it.
    jotulguy likes this.
  24. aansorge

    aansorge Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2011
    Messages:
    719
    Loc:
    Southern Minnesota
    Sorry a2, I shoulda said cottonwood steve.... Plenty of good inserts out there, but some do make some noise. I was at a church retreat in the fall and at the cafeteria there was an insert there that was big, quiet, and generated massive heat. I should of taken a picture to have people on here help figure out what it was. Next year.
  25. A2Woodburner

    A2Woodburner New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2013
    Messages:
    70
    No worries. Just making sure to clarify. Thanks!

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