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Quadra Fire 3000 - Blower Kit Question: Fit and is it worth it?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Beowulf, Dec 24, 2009.

  1. Beowulf

    Beowulf New Member

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    Hello, new to the forum and really enjoying it!

    Been heating a mountain home, about 1,500 sq. ft. exclusively for the last 7 years with a 1987 Quadra Fire 3000. Ashamed to admit that I thought I knew everything I needed to know about it from years of heating with wood in the 1960's and 1970's on a farm. Finally downloaded a manual for a model 3100 and learned how to set the primary and secondary air controls properly; sheesh...

    Anyway, just curious, is a blower kit a worthwhile investment for this stove? It heats the house well, but the north rooms are a little cool unless you make the living room a little warm. The upstairs warm up no problem. The house is pretty well insulated and moderately sealed. Elevation is 6,000 ft, so nights can dip into single digits, but 20's are more the norm for winter lows. Stove is installed in a corner of the living room, with masonry hearth on the floor and walls.

    Also, what is the chance that a blower kit for a 3100 will work on the older 3000? They look the same, even down to the mounting holes, but I don't have the kit dimensions for the 3100. It is part number BK-ACC, if that helps. If it is just drilling a couple new holes or something, I can deal with it.

    Thanks for taking a look and any help!

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  2. WidowMaker

    WidowMaker Member

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    I can't speak to the fit, but as for the worth, I wouldn't be be with out my fan. To do a quick and dirty, set a small box fan up to blow accros the top of your stove in the direction the stove fan would blow. Run it for a few days to see if it makes a differance. My money says it will...
  3. JeffT

    JeffT Member

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    Dayton Ohio
    +1 on the blower.My Cumberland Gap was ok by its self,with the blower it kicks.I didn't think it would make that much of a difference but it does.The same blower works on most Quad stoves,if not all.Don't know about older models.
  4. Beowulf

    Beowulf New Member

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    Thanks for the thoughts, guys. I believe I will order the blower kit and see how it goes. It looks like it should not take too much engineering to make it fit, if it is not an exact bolt on.

    A ceiling fan also sounds like a good idea too, but I have a couple of relatively low 12" beams that make location a challenge.

    I the more I read on this forum, the more I like it. There is a fantastic amount of information to sift through.
  5. Adabiviak

    Adabiviak Feeling the Heat

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    I have a 3100 with the blower. Our house is 'relatively' small (800 sq. feet), and I'll only use it if I need to heat a cold house quickly; as in, just got home and plan on taking a shower and going straight to bed. This is in combination with a ceiling fan (we have mild open ceilings), which does more to get the heat around than the blower, but between the two, the house can warm up quick.
  6. cycloxer

    cycloxer New Member

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    Depending on your particular installation and how much and how quickly you are trying to extract heat, a blower will be beneficial. You can do some simple testing with a small fan you may have around the house (be careful) to see what you think.

    If your stove is partially obstructed or in an alcove, a blower will help a lot.

    If your stove is in the middle of your room, it won't help you nearly as much.

    The downsides to the blower are that they do make some noise and they require about 60 watts of electricity.
  7. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    The big downside is that it makes a perfect ash distribution system. The bit of ash that falls out when you open the door will be sucked in and blown all over the house. Just ask my wife.

    In my former home the blower sucked ash (and air) in from the front of the stove. Mind you, I'm talking about a 650 CFM (central heat option) blower, not some dinky squirrel cage inside the stove. Now I suck air from the far side of the house and blow it out the front of the stove instead.
  8. cycloxer

    cycloxer New Member

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    650 is a lot of cfm. I have used a 215 cfm bower which was awesome, but also really overkill. I've settled on a 130 cfm blower which I run at prob half capacity most of the time. I haven't noticed any more of an ash problem, but I run my stove pretty clean. I can see how that could be an issue though, yeah.
  9. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Agreed, depending on the house layout, a stove blower may not make a big difference here. From the description, this sounds like more of a heat distribution problem than inadequate heat. Before buying the stove blower, I'd place a fan in the cool area, on the floor, blowing towards the stove area. You may be pleasantly surprised how well the temps even out. A basic box fan or table fan, running on low works fine.

    Just posted early results of a blower on our stove here:
    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/48990/P22/#541164

    The blower does create a vacuum over the door and yes, some smoke and ash will come out unless the fan is turned off.
  10. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    Ja, but I think it's overrated and doubt it actually moves that much air. I have it sucking through a 16x25 washable furnace filter and then blowing through another 16x25 3M Filtrete filter to capture much of the airborne particulate.
  11. Beowulf

    Beowulf New Member

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    Thanks for the replies and advice. I tested a small box fan, blowing at the stove from about 15 ft away and found that it definitely reduced the temperature gradients around the lower level of the house.

    Decided to buy the QF blower kit, part number BK-ACC, (off e-bay), for a Quadra Fire 3100/4100 etc. and see how it would fit up to my older 3000. The diagram looked pretty close, so took the chance.

    There appears to be a minor redesign in the 3100 that makes the tunnel for the lower air inlet about 3/8" narrower on the newer stoves. The fan kit bolts on the back of the stove, with a "U" shaped cutout that straddles this horizontal inlet pipe. The two squirrel cage blowers go on either side and blow air up between the rear heat shield and the stove box. The air going up hits a curved lip at the top and squirts out sort of planar over the stove top.

    Since the unit will require a little sheet metal cutting to fit around the larger air inlet channel, I opted for a temporary (yeah right) redneck install. I set the blower box on a concrete block behind the stove pedestal, about an inch below where it would be if bolted up. I made a couple of short aluminum foil ducts (foil + foil Duct tape) and attached them to the outlets on the two squirrel cage blowers in the box and routed them up between the heat shield and stove box. Have a power outlet very conveniently located near the hearth.

    This setup is pretty nice, from a performance viewpoint. It is reasonably invisible because the stove is installed in a corner and the pedestal blocks the view of it.

    I let the house get a little cold, 66F, then loaded the stove up and let it heat up. The magnetic thermocouple kicked the blower on (I had it set on high) when the stove temp showed about 200F, you could feel a hot breeze from about 5 feet away from the front of the stove. The whole lower floor warmed up to 74F in about the same time that it would have taken to get the area around the living room to that temp. I am quite pleased with that result. We arrive at this house between shutdowns and sometimes it is in the 30's inside. That can take a while to overcome.

    Once things were warmed up, I put the blower on it's lowest of 5 settings. It is almost inaudible at the low setting, but it still moves a little air. We noticed at dinner that the dining room, about 25 ft from the stove, was quite a bit warmer than it had been; no cold tootsies while eating!

    Quality of the unit seems ok, although the rotary switch is not infinitely variable. It has somewhat indistinct stops that seem like they are a little fuzzy. You have to wiggle it to get it to seat into a speed setting. Feels like a cheap potentiometer doomed to fail at some point.

    So, bottom line: For this application, the Quadra Fire fan kit part, number BK-ACC, seems to get heat moved around the house for a minimum of noise and hassle. I did not want to do a ceiling fan, so this was a reasonable alternative, even at the exhorbitant price of $260. It would probably work as a free standing unit for most stoves that have a heatshield with a gap of 3/4" or so in the back, if you wanted something easy to install without fabbing up a unit from scratch and don't mind the price.

    Side note: I do notice that having a fan on does cool the firebox a little and requires just a little more air to maintain the same temps. Or it could be my imagination. ;-)
  12. campwood

    campwood New Member

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    I highly recommend getting the blower for your wood stove...we used our stove all winter without the blower...here it is almost March, we finally broke down and got it...it's amazing how well it heats the place and circulates through our entire house! I used to get up early and put wood in to keep the house at a comfortable temp...now I can sleep right through and it'still warm when I get to it! At this point I would not own a wood stove without the blower, simply amazing and worth every penny!

    Don't think another second about it...order your blower today!
  13. windysteve

    windysteve New Member

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  14. Beowulf

    Beowulf New Member

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    I'd be delighted to measure, but won't be at the house that it is installed at for a couple of weeks... Here is the guy's ebay listing that I bought from.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/BK-ACC-Quadrafire-Wood-Stove-Blower-831-1701-/170456884789

    It looks similar to the one you are looking at, but not as many adapter plates (none.) I had to do a little cutting to make it fit the 1987 vintage QF 3000, but it does ok. The fan speed control rheostat is somewhat of a POS, but I have not been inspired to open the box up and replace it, yet. You have to wiggle the knob back and forth to get it to start the blower on the lower settings, the first time. After than, the thermostat kicks it on and off ok.

    Good luck.
  15. windysteve

    windysteve New Member

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    That would be great. No rush. With the 100 degree days here I suspect I've got some time before I'll need it... ;-)

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