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Quadrafire Castille blowing soot into house...again

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by MommaChelle, Dec 3, 2008.

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  1. MommaChelle

    MommaChelle New Member

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    We have had our Castille for 4 years. Towards the end of last winter, it started blowing out soot, covering the basement in a fine black. My hubby does regular maintenance on the stove (it's his other love). We even had a pro come out to look at it. He couldn't see a problem, but did a thorough cleaning. We figured it was bad fuel (had 3 tons of Ozark - horrible pellets and lousy customer service.) Started out this year with a clean burn, but now the flame is getting crazy on high, and we're beginning to see soot blown out again. We use Penningtons for the most part, but have also burned Heartland Premium Oak (pricey!) Same problem. Quadrafire can't (or won't) help us, and we're having a hard time locating a tech to work on the stove. Any suggestions? It's really cold here today, and we are missing our baby!

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  2. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Where on the stove was the soot being blown out from?

    When were the gaskets last checked and/or replaced?
  3. MommaChelle

    MommaChelle New Member

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    The pro checked the gaskets last season and didn't see a problem, but I'm wondering if that's a contributor.

    We are assuming that the soot is coming from the blowers. We sealed all joints on the piping last winter because we had a bit of smoke.

    Someone suggested to my hubby that the feed might be too slow and the stove wouldn't be burning hot enough. Really a possibility?
  4. slls

    slls Minister of Fire

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    I would clean the combustion fan and vent.
  5. Xena

    Xena Minister of Fire

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    I'm thinking you may want to provide details
    of your installation such as is this a free standing
    unit or insert? How is the vent installed?
    Pics if you have them would be great.

    We have some very knowledgeable stove installers
    on here but I know they're going to ask you these
    questions so the more info you can provide up front,
    the quicker they will be able to come up with ideas.
  6. firewarrior820

    firewarrior820 Feeling the Heat

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    just curious have you cleaned behind the fake brick

    Attached Files:

  7. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    zeta has basically said what has to be said, otherwise we are just guessing at which of several things it could be.

    If soot is coming out something isn't tight and if things aren't tight you can get a bad burn which leads to more soot and clogging etc... .

    I don't know how much fuel you have run through the stove since it was last cleaned well. However, my instinct (have spent a few years burning solid fuels) says that all your seals (gaskets and others) need checking and the stove needs a real cleaning.

    I'm currently waiting to hear from my dealer about a couple of issues I asked them about yesterday after I did a cleaning the hard way.
  8. MommaChelle

    MommaChelle New Member

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    Thanks zeta and Smokey...

    Okay, the stove was installed by a professional. Freestanding.

    We have had it 4 years - no problems like this for the first 3.

    We do clean behind the plates several times a season. The stove was cleaned extremely thoroughly by a pro at the end of last season (and he didn't even notice an extreme amount of dirt/dust considering we were having this problem last year), and we have only been burning in it consistently for 3 or 4 weeks now. Other than that, we clean the pot 2x a day, as well as clean down the interior. The stove runs 24/7 with the exception of a couple of hours for cleaning.

    I've attached a pic.

    Attached Files:

  9. firewarrior820

    firewarrior820 Feeling the Heat

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    I would welcome any input about my stove if i were having a problem with it.
    Even if were a guess. I believe thats how you work through a problem when you don't have access
    to the pellet stove itself.
    thanks
  10. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Yes xpellet freakx, however it can take a long time to run through a guessing game. The more information upfront the faster it goes as lots of things can be ruled out.

    Do you have an outside air kit on the stove?

    How is the seal around the glass?

    If the heat exchanger tubes get really hot have you cleaned out the heat exchanger? I'm wondering if the soot is actually from the burning of the pellets or from dust in the exchanger tubes carbonizing.

    Is the ash drawer tight?
  11. MommaChelle

    MommaChelle New Member

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    Thanks, xpellet, you're right. (Didn't mean to leave you out of my previous thanks!) We are at a loss, and this is extremely frustrating. Quadrafire was NO HELP. Nothing like waiting a half hour for someone to answer their customer service line, only to have them tell you to call a dealer. And we paid how much for this thing? We love this stove, but I can't have that soot covering everything in the house again.

    No outside air kit on the stove. Was told that we don't need one, and it has never presented a problem before.

    Good question about the heat exchanger tubes. I'll mention it to my husband, although I'm pretty sure the pro would have looked into it. He had the thing taken apart.

    The ash drawer seems tight, but I'm thinking we need to try replacing the seals around the doors, and see if it helps. Process of elimination?
  12. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Another possibility is that a major down draft blew some soot out of the air intake and since you don't have an outside air kit it went into the room the stove was in.

    Pro ,what's a pro? That last I knew that was just a matter of getting $'s for doing things.
  13. MommaChelle

    MommaChelle New Member

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    LOL - I guess I consider anyone who knows more about this than we do a "pro."
  14. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    What kind of a cap do you have on the end of that vent pipe?

    I've seen pictures of the wrong kind being used and them getting a bit clogged up and other things happening.

    You could try the leaf blower method of cleaning or with a very strong shop vac.
  15. johnny1720

    johnny1720 Member

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    What kind of device are you utilizing to remove the ash from the stove?

    I bet there is nothing wrong with the stove. I bet you vacuum is blowing the soot around inside your house.

    I get this same phone call at least once a month.

    John
  16. slg093

    slg093 New Member

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    I have a buddy that has a Quadrafire and they were having issues with it also. It was cleaned inside and out and still had issues we finally cleaned the burn pot out really well and made sure that all of the holes were good and clean and all of the issues went away. He burns Ozark pellets and has had not problems actually they were the ones that help him with the problem. Have you contact them about this issue?
  17. slg093

    slg093 New Member

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    Soot in the house. There was a Breckwell pellet stove that did the same thing with the soot in the house. This stove was five years old and what they ended up finding was a crack in one of the heat exchanger tubes which was allowing exhaust smoke into the room. Something to check.
  18. sydney1963

    sydney1963 New Member

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    Vac can definitly be a problem, will blow soot everywhere and you wouldn't even notice until it settled and you dusted furniture. Very fine. Not good for lungs.
  19. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Soot is bad.....bad, something must be very wrong.

    Yes, a cracked heat exchanger is one of the first things I would look at.

    Also, the outside air setup.

    And, are there any heating duct returns in the room? You might have a negative pressure in the room caused by a heating return or exhaust fan (clothes dryer, other exhaust fans) which ends up sucking small particles out of the stove through gaskets, etc. - might even suck stuff out when the stove is not running!'
  20. MommaChelle

    MommaChelle New Member

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    Thanks for all of your input! We weren't using a shop vac to clean it out, but a small vac with a filtered bag. So, we don't think the cleaning was causing the soot. But good thought. Actually, we were wondering about the air return issue...may be one factor.

    The hubby took the baffles off and did another thorough cleaning, including the pot and the exhaust fan. Haven't had a soot problem since. Don't know what made the difference this time, but so far, so good.

    Hubby is "taken" with the idea of cleaning the thing with the leaf blower. He's been plotting like a mad scientist to rig something up to attach to the pipe.

    Would moisture over the summer possibly cause a need for an early thorough cleaning of the stove? We noticed some rust this year before our first burn. Perhaps this gummed up the exhaust fan.
  21. Macrovertigo

    Macrovertigo New Member

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    You need to read the posts here on using a leaf blower as a handy cleaning tool - have your husband read the very interesting postings under - "CLEANING YOUR STOVE WITH A LEAFBLOWER… NO KIDDING!" - at - http://hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/29847/ be sure to use an electric not gas fired leaf blower, I just bought mine at Sears for 50 bucks (including a two year "replace instead of repair" type insurance for about seven dollars). The paper work on this model seems to allow for cold ash clean-up. I will try it with the collection bag in place for the hell of it, but don't care if the back yard looks like Pittsburg until the next snow fall. Take pics and post some, I am setting up the sony in front of the window to record the cyclonic effects, and will have the still pic camera outside to capture the blowout.
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