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Quadrafire 7100 - COLD AIR RUSHING INTO THE ROOM

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by htg1967, Apr 22, 2009.

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  1. htg1967

    htg1967 New Member

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    I am a Newby in this forum, but I am looking desperate for help with my Quadrafire 7100 unit

    So far this project has been ONE disaster, and I regret this purchase decision, since my local dealer nor Quadrafire are real active to solve this problem.

    In July 2008 we invested into a Quadrafire 7100 unit. The goal back then was to take out a builder insert and to stop the cold draft during the winter time and increase the energy efficiency of our home. We did not use the unit until we had cold days here in Michigan. Right from the start we realized a cold air draft entering our living room from the lower room air intake. We played around with the room air / aux air lever at the bottom of the unit. It is my understanding that this lever would control the air intake of the unit, but no matter in which position the lever is, in cold weather, cold air rushes into the house.

    We contacted our dealer and without coming out to our house to asses the issue, they determined that our house must have negative pressure and this would not be the issue of the installation or the product. Being very unhappy about the insulation of our house envelop in general, I contacted a local energy audit consultant. A pressure door test was performed and the result showed a leaky house envelop. The Infrared Camera showed cold air entering in the same temperature as the temperature at the outside on that particular day.

    Providing this information with my dealer, I was told that even a house with a leaky house envelop can have negative pressure in certain rooms.

    I am not specialist in this area, but the cold air issue is really a problem, and I wished I could get rid off the unit and get my money back.

    Has anybody experienced this issue, if yes what was the solution.

    An Unhappy Customer of Quadrafire - SouthEast Michigan

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  2. Michael6268

    Michael6268 Feeling the Heat

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    Are you saying this is happening when the unit is burning? If so I have no answer. If when the unit is not burning what you have is a reverse flow/negative pressure. Sometimes tightening up the house will help. Making sure there are no other appliances in the area drawing air to them and creating the negative pressure. But most likely you will have to live with it. I have never experienced this with a stove burning so I assume you are talking about when the stove is not running. The best you can do is cover the air supply inlets with something when not in use to lessend the air coming down the chimney. You also could stuff some insulation in the chimney making sure to remove when starting the stove up in the fall. You will also have to "preheat" the chimney to get the draft going when making up your fires to get the draft going as otherwise you will get a house full of smoke. Once you start burning in the fall you wont have a problem if you run continuously and things should be much better. Give it a chance...
  3. stoveguy13

    stoveguy13 Minister of Fire

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    is this in a chase? if so is the chase insulated?
  4. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    Well, lots of information here. How exactly are the two air intakes hooked up? is one going to the outside and one going to the inside? Air movement follows pressure, so if the room that the fireplace is in is slightly negative, and the outside air is set on the inside air lever, then air can come down the chimney and throudh the fireplace. If the outside air is installed properly, then the negative pressure in the room should not play a factor. As far as you can tell, where is the air coming from? the firebox?
    Is the fireplace installed on a exterior wall?
    Is the chimney 2' above anything with in 10' of the cap?
    If it is installed on a exterior wall, is it installed in a bump out or flush with the interior wall?
    How are the two air intakes installed?
    What exactly do you think is causing the problem?
    As far as a leaky home still having negative pressure, that is true. Think of your car cruisning down the highway, by no means is your car a tight building envelope, but if you crack your window your ears will pop because of the lower pressure in the car depsite that the car leaks like mad. Negative pressure problems are some of the hardest to fix. My guess is that something is not hooked up right, or installed right. Either the fireplace outside air ports are installed improperly, or, if this is installed in a bump out, the bump out is not insulated properly and the negative pressure of the room is pulling air from the bump out around the fireplace... im sure we can get this figured out with more information on the installation.
  5. Hurricane

    Hurricane Minister of Fire

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    Have you tried covering the air intake port outside with some plastic tape or some other material to prevent air flow. Then if the air is still rushing in you know you need to look at some other place for the air to get in. If the air stops coming in then as MountainStoveGuy stated the outside air is installed improperly. The chase may or may not be insulated, were you there when they installed it ? did you take pictures ? They may have cut the hole for the outside air and never insulated or sealed around it on the inside. If this test fails you may need to slide the insert out to find your answer. I am not sure what is involved with that on the 7100
  6. htg1967

    htg1967 New Member

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    Loc:
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    Wow, so many questions in so little time, thank you for the fast response. I hope I can answer them all.

    - Yes, the problem only arises when the unit is not running.
    - Yes, the unit is installed in a exterior chase. The chase walls were insulated. If the fire stop barrier was insulated I do not know. I only know one thing and that is when
    the unit is not running, the dry wall above the unit is ICE COLD.
    - The combustion air and the Aux air are hooked up to the outside

    It was my understanding that when you move the room/aux air lever to the left ONLY room air is being used, by means the connection to the outside is somehow cut-off. How come that cold air can rush in through the lower part of the unit?

    The manual which was supplied with the unit was only 18 pages long and printed in 2004

    The NEW manual (downloaded form the website) is by far more in content. On PAGE 18, it claims that in cold areas of the country the aux air should not be connected to the outside, rather on the return plenum.

    Any take on this info?

    Thanks for your thoughts
  7. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    you hit the nail on the head, but not sure that this exactly solves your issue. the aux air is not supposed to be hooked up to the outside, but thats not the issue. Its a issue, but not the one that is causing the problem, well actually it could be a problem.
    On the back of the fireplace there are two ports. these two ports are supposed to pull air from different locations, yours are hooked to the same location (outside) which does not get you the option to pull outside air vs cirulation mode or inside aux air.
    It could aslo be that the chimney is not tall enough, and air is falling down the chimney trying to escape out of the outside air, expecially if the outside air is on the leeward side of the building, which is the negative side, and turning your fireplace into a ice box. Or the provlem could with the actuall framing of the unit, and the way the chase and bump out is constructed. If the chase and bump out is not built to the same standards as the home, then the chase and bumpout will be cold as hell.
  8. htg1967

    htg1967 New Member

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    We have covered the AlL 3 air intake ports outside with insulation and the problem went away.

    We removed them one by one for analysis. Once we removed the air intake on the right of the house, which I believe is for the Aux Air the problem started again. My dealer installed a trap, with NO result of improvement.

    I was only part of the installation at the beginning, not the whole day. I saw that they insulated the chase walls, but do not know if they insulated the fire stop. Like I said that dry wall above the unit is ice cold.

    I like your fast responses very much, especially since this thing is dragging on since 6 months.

    Greeting from Michigan
  9. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    wellt he trap would be going the wrong direction, air is coming out of the aux air, wich brings air down the chimney, wich cools the fireplace. The trap would need to be on the inside of the house, so that when air is coming down the chimney it would close the vent. The aux air should be installed in the same pressure plane as the fireplace......
  10. jtp10181

    jtp10181 Minister of Fire

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    MSG I don't think you fully understand how the three air hookups on the unit work, or maybe I just don't properly understand what you are saying.

    Chimney Air - 4" line and hood, comes off the top of the unit. This is connected to a box which is supposed to be sealed with red RTV silicone to the top of the fireplace. It keeps the cooling air chamber from dumping air into the chase and also is supposed to promote better draft.

    Outside Air - 6" line and metal hood, comes off the lower right side. This has a damper control on the right side of the unit. When open it lets outside air into the firebox for combustion.

    AUX Air - 6" line and metal hood, comes off lower right also, below the outside air. This has no actual damper on it, but there is a slide plate. If the aux air level is to the left it is closed off, if its to the right the blowers are closed off to the room and only pull from the aux air line. When closed its not air tight, its just a metal on metal slide plate.


    Take the AUX air hood off on the outside and install a metal plate over it with insulation behind it. The AUX air is not recommended to be hooked up to outside air in cold climates. It says so right in the manual. The AUX was designed for two things, one was for outside intake and when activated the convection blowers would pull outside air and warm it up and blow it inside, this would create a POSI pressure in the house and keep heat from leaking out. The other purpose was to pull air from other areas of the house to create a NEG pressure there, which would cause warm air to naturally travel there. Quad realized after complaints came in that the AUX air causes problems in cold climates when hooked up to the outside. They told us on any with problems to just plate it over. After this is done you always want to make sure your AUX air lever is to the left. Apparently your dealer missed that memo. We have not been hooking up the AUX air for 2-3 years.

    Now, with the drywall above the unit being cold I don't think all your problem is the AUX air, that should only leak air into the room, not into the chase. I would guess either the chimney air boot is not sealed up, or there is a leak elsewhere in the chase. Back in early 2008 we were not allowed to caulk the pipe to the firestop on the SL300 pipe (which is what you should have). Recently this got approved by UL so they could do that and it may help also.
  11. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    i think we are saying the same thing, i never brought the chimney air into the equation. I understand it that he has both aux and outside air hooked up to the outside..
  12. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    also JTP, you are much more experinced with the fireplace then i am, is the chimney air your speaking of the same kit they used to require on the SL300 pipe? How does the chimney air play a part in this?
  13. jtp10181

    jtp10181 Minister of Fire

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    Yes it is the SL300 CAK4A kit, it comes with the unit because its required. It comes into play because if the CAK box is not sealed around the pipe and to the fireplace it will leak cold air into the chase cavity behind the fireplace. This would make the walls cold.

    After my info, interested to see which air hood was actually found to be the problem. Since it seems the OP is not really sure where the problematic hood is actually connected behind the wall.
  14. htg1967

    htg1967 New Member

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    Update:

    My dealer has made another pressure measurement in the living room. The device was able to recognize up to 1 Pascal in air pressure differences. Even with ALL with bath room, warm water heater, furnace, etc. running the negative pressure stayed below the critical level. With this dealership and Quadrafire decided to take off the convection air from the outside.

    Operating Manual:
    The unit was delivered with a Operating Manual printed in 2004. In this manual NOTHING was mentioned about problems with the 7100 in cold weather climates. In the new version, which I downloaded from the website, the manual clearly states that the convection air should not be hooked up to the outside.

    What upsets me is that it took SO LONG too finally accept the fact that my house does not have a problem of negative pressure and they did not want to make a stand.

    Nevertheless, the convection air will now be hooked up to the inside of the house. I have a crawl space which gives us the opportunity to hook up the convection air to another room creating a draft through the house and hopefully increasing the efficiency. My dealer assessed that he can disconnect the convection air from the outside (without removing the fireplace) and then install a new pipe behind the fireplace dropping through the craw space.

    What concerns me now is the sealing of the CAK box. My hope was, once the convection air is disconnected from the outside that the cold air above the fireplace would stop. If I understand you correctly, then this would be not the case, or?

    Thanks MSG and JTP for all your comments. As a home owner I really appreciate your time and help.

    HTG
  15. jtp10181

    jtp10181 Minister of Fire

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    It might fix it totally, or it might be one of multiple problems with the install.
  16. htg1967

    htg1967 New Member

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    According to my dealer the CAK Box was properly sealed. Installation pictures will be given to me. I hope, once the convection air is removed from the outside that the problem with cold air in the chase will disappear too.
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