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Quadrafire Cumberland Gap problems

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Buck Sawyer, Jun 4, 2013.

  1. Buck Sawyer

    Buck Sawyer New Member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2013
    Messages:
    3
    Loc:
    Belfast, ME
    Despite much effort from our dealer to identify problem, we ran through 6 cords last winter -twice the expected amount- on new Quadrafire Cumberland Gap. Doors are tight. Stainless liner. 20 foot height. Anyone have solution? Thanks. Buck

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Nov 18, 2005
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    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    There are lots of variables including the wood, the house, climate and stove operation. Tell us a bit more about each of these.
  3. Buck Sawyer

    Buck Sawyer New Member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2013
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    Loc:
    Belfast, ME
    Hi. House is 1800 SF two story, complete foam insulation with tyvek, all new Anderson windows; Maine coast setting, sheltered without excessive wind. Dried wood, mostly red oak. Plenty of experience with wood heat. It is our main source. Centrally located in open living area with adequate combustion air. Interior chimney with 6 inch stainless liner, 20 feet height from thimble to chimney top. We almost bought the Jotul 600 Firelight but thought we'd save a couple hundred bucks with the Quadrafire. Wish we had gone with Jotul. We also have to clean heavy smudge from the glass every other day. Peace, Buck
  4. northwinds

    northwinds Minister of Fire

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    Jul 9, 2006
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    Loc:
    south central WI
    Don't throw out the baby with the bathwater quite yet. The heavy smudge on the glass is often a sign of inadequately seasoned wood or turning down the air too soon. When was your wood split? Have you taken moisture readings from a fresh split? Red oak takes longer to season than almost any other wood. I've got your stove's big brother, the Isle Royale, and I go through a third less wood with a bigger house. Hang in there, folks here will get things figured out for you. What temps on the stovetop
    did you generally cruise at? Please describe your burning practices. Full loads burning through complete cycles? Or a log or two to the fire often?
  5. Buck Sawyer

    Buck Sawyer New Member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2013
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    3
    Loc:
    Belfast, ME
    thanks for the encouragement, Northwinds. During the day I add a couple logs at a time. At bedtime, I load it fully, sometimes damper it down right away and turn in, sometimes let it catch for 30 minutes before shutting down for the night. Haven't used a moisture meter, but sounds as though it may be helpful to pinpoint the problem.Just got a temp guage at end of season, so I can't give meaningful data on that. Peace, Buck
  6. northwinds

    northwinds Minister of Fire

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    1,288
    Loc:
    south central WI
    Usually, owners of new epa stoves have a different idea of what dry wood is compared to the old stoves which did just fine with less than optimal wood. I let all of my split oak season for three years before burning it. Some folks would say this is excessive, and some folks would say that's the minimum in a less than super dry, windy climate.
    You want 20% or less moisture on a fresh split. You can get by on a lot less than three years with some other hardwoods. Most softwoods will be ready to burn in a year
    or less. I'm at least three years ahead, so everything sits for three years at my house.

    Another thing to think about is your chimney. If your glass was heavily smudged every couple of days, be sure to get that chimney cleaned before burning again. How much creosote is in your chimney will also tell you how clean or not you've been burning (either because of wet wood or damping down before the fire is cleanly burning via secondary combustion.

    Rest easy. I think you've got a quality stove. Jotul makes good stoves too; neither will burn well without well-seasoned wood and clean burning practices (which require getting sufficient stovetop temps for secondary combustion).
  7. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    Unity/Bangor, Maine
    Congrats . . . I think you're now the closest Hearth.com member to me . . . Unity resident here.

    I also have a two-story 1,800 square foot home (Cape) . . . 1970s vintage with the usual fiberglass insulation in the 2 x 4 walls of that time period . . . some windows have been replaced and some need to be replaced.

    Our situations are pretty similar . . . although I have noticed Belfast tends to get a bit more wind and on the whole is a mite bit warmer . . . our weather and temps tend to be closer to Waterville or Augusta.

    That said, last year, for the first time I tracked how much wood I used . . . used 4 1/2-5 cords of wood.

    As others have said . . . part of the issue could be the wood . . . could be how the stove is operated . . . a combination of the two . . . or something else entirely.

    The wood: Grew up in Thorndike heating with wood all my life. With these EPA woodstoves there truly is a difference in "seasoned" and "well seasoned" wood. These stoves like well seasoned wood. In the first year I thought I did OK with standing dead elm that had been cut in the summer. It wasn't until Year 2 when I was burning wood that was over a year cut, split and stacked that I noticed a huge difference in how quick the wood would ignite, higher temps and less gunk on the "glass." With oak I would wait at least 2-3 years before burning it as it is notorious for being wet.

    Stove operation: As you noted, having a temp helps a lot. It lets you know when you should keep the air wide open . . . and when you should close down the air. Close down the stove too soon before it is hot enough and you suffocate the fire and don't get those robust secondary flames. Close down the stove too late and you lose a lot of heat up the chimney . . . speaking of which . . . I assume you've read enough to realize that unlike the old stoves opening the air wide open does not give you more heat, but just the opposite . . . at least once you've brought the stove up to temp. Incidentally, having a thermometer on the stove and chimney helps me out a lot . . . both in running the stove efficiently and in keeping the stove and chimney at safe temps -- not too hot and not too cool.

    These stoves also tend to do well by burning in cycles -- rather than just putting a split or two on the fire during the day they burn better and more efficiently at letting the fire burn down to coals and then loading it up and letting it burn through another cycle -- getting hot enough and then cutting back on the air to achieve the secondary burn.
  8. Prof

    Prof Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2011
    Messages:
    156
    Loc:
    Western PA
    I have a cumberland gap too. I'm in PA, so the heating season is probably quite a bit more mild than yours. I use 4 cords give or take a stick. Did the dealer check the gasket that seals the glass (not the door gasket)? The stove has more gaskets than I would like, but overall has provided good heat. I would echo what others have said about the wood--any time I have tried to use marginal wood the stove really doesn't like it.
  9. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    SW Washington
    +1 on the moisture meter. Anything other than a measurement is guesswork and it doesn't take much to make a difference. Wood even at only 25% mc has 25% more water than at 20%, which will significantly affect how much wood you have to burn for a given amount of heat output.

    The blackening window is most likely either wood quality, burning too low, or turning the air down too early or any combination.

    Almost certainly not the stove.

    Edit: Another question: what species wood are you burning and when did you get it?
  10. tomahawk

    tomahawk Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2013
    Messages:
    54
    Loc:
    Skagit County, WA
    I too have the Cumberland Gap, a 2000sf house built in 2006 and I use around 4-5 cords of wood each season. It is our only heat source so we burn from late Sept to late May. (sometime more) The glass on these will get nasty quickly if you don't have wood that's dry and seasoned.

    Are the 6 cord of wood cords that you stacked and KNOW is a full cord or did someone deliver it in a pile and just say it was a cord?

    +1 on the moisture meter too, that way you know if it's ready to burn.
  11. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    If you are going through 6 cords of firewood a year you should have 12 to 18 cords already stacked and drying. Yes, that is a ridiculous amount of wood, so having an energy audit and seriously investing in tightening up the place with sealing and insulation would be a very good investment. This could be leaky ceiling cans, attic door, etc. It sounds like you are dealing with serious heat loss in the house or wet wood.
    fbelec likes this.

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