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Recent poor performance with Jotul C550

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by jatoxico, Dec 29, 2012.

  1. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

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    OK so I need the big guns here :) . Over the past weekend and during xmas Jotul 550 was working very well. The last two days I have had terrible performance.

    Fire builds slowly, poor secondary burn with short burn times. need to leave primary open more than usual. Stove temp does not reach high temps easily.

    What changed;

    1) I used some creosoot spray for the first time this year a couple days ago.

    2) Yesterday I lifted the skamole baffles up and used my hand to feel around for ash and junk while I was sweeping out the ash.

    Could I have somehow blocked secondary air intake? The manual does not show the intake. During my sweep out I lifted the baffles to inspect the flue which looks fine. From the ground I don't see any blackening at the cap suggesting creosote and I'd be surprised if I had a significant issue. Only used the cresoot spray and felt around for crud above the baffles as a precaution. Any ideas?

    Going to let it cool and remove the burn tubes baffles and baffle plate later.

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  2. chimneylinerjames

    chimneylinerjames Feeling the Heat

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    Did you clean the chimney? or just look up the flue? Is it lined with stainless steel? Is it insulated?
  3. DanCorcoran

    DanCorcoran Minister of Fire

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    If you re-title your thread "Need help with Jotul 550", you'll probably get a lot more (pertinent) responses.
  4. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    The first suspect would be the baffle positioning. Make sure that it is correct and all the way to the back of the stove. You don't want any flue gases sneaking around it. Also, is there a possibility that you've coincidentally run into some poorer seasoned wood in the stack?
    remkel likes this.
  5. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

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    Chimney was cleaned beginning of the season (end Oct) but just looked up flue.
    Stainless lined no insulation.

    I know where you're going and won't say you're wrong but performance 3 days ago was very good.
  6. chimneylinerjames

    chimneylinerjames Feeling the Heat

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    Well it could clog up fast, no insulation, bad wood just for a few fires, perfect storm for a blocked chimney. I would clean the chimney and go from there.
  7. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

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    Re: the baffles I will check and double check once she cools off. Getting the cast baffle plates in and out is a PITA but the baffles themselves are easy. I want the baffle plates down so I can really see whats going on.

    Re: the wood, maybe but its 2.5 yr c/s/s locust.

    It got just a little colder out and I hate to but I will throw this out there, it's an outside brick chimney with a unisulated liner to the top (>20'). I don't think that's the issue though. Burned for 6+ hrs so brick was warmed and it warmed up outside a bit this am and the performance was still @#$%$!&^ compared to a couple days ago.

    Even when stove top was pretty hot (500+) I could not get the secondaries to get that "gas grill" look even when I cut the primary air back all the way temporarily which usually does the trick. Even tried a small pc or two of 1" square kindling in a well established fire which would normally give an instant nuclear display at the secondaries and not much happened a little but not much.

    Sorry for the wordy post but trying to give some clues.
  8. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Have you been burning locust all along? I find that I need to have the air control open wider for that wood and can not close it all the way off. The secondary display is different too. Mostly blue wafting flames.

    If you have, another thing to check is the air control to make sure that the control lever has not come out of engagement with the slider valve.
  9. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

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    It certainly may come to that. See if my inspection and cleaning of the box/baffle assembly this afternoon does any good.Don't have a soot eater or anything so I'll have to call my guy for the flue itself. The wood should be good.
  10. rkofler

    rkofler Burning Hunk

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    I have had a strange couple of days too, not quite running like I'm used to. Could it be the weather? Storm moving in? Pressure?
  11. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

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    Was more of a mix previously and I thought that too. With the air pretty well open and a load of locust I should see stove top temps >500. Under those conditions I have seen >750 with fan blowing pretty strong and even after I cut the air stove temps climb. No worry of run away stove right now, quite the opposite. Maybe it's entirely a draft issue but what worries me is why can't I get decent secondary burn for even a few minutes??
  12. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    It's very unlikely that you blocked the secondary ports. Is there a screen in the cap? If so, take a look at it to see if it's plugged. If the cap is high up, try using binoculars to check it out.
  13. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

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    Interesting and I thought the same thing! Good to hear from a Jotul guy rkofler and in the same neighborhood.

    I had Googled low barometric pressure and low atmopheric pressure effect on draft before I started this thread but no good info. Been monitoring my little weather station and tracking pressure change see what happens when it goes back up.

    What's your chimney setup?
  14. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

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    More of a grate pretty large openings. Good idea about the binoculars, I don't know why I did not think of that. I'll post back some info in a bit.
  15. rkofler

    rkofler Burning Hunk

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    My chimney is a little short since my house is a ranch, maybe 15ft, uninsulated, sealed with Roxul at top and bottom. Overall I am very happy with the 550, heats my house pretty well, usually runs nice and hot. Just have not been able to cut the air back as much as usual in the last day or so, and temps not climbing like I'm used to. Think I will check chimney cap too, can't hurt.
    Let us know what you find
  16. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

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    So I have all the burn tubes, baffles and baffle plates out. With my head in the box I can see only 4-5' up but thats clean. I did what begreen suggested and looked at the cap with binoculars. There is some crud but I can't tell if it's residual from the last cleaning or not. I was on the roof after the cleaning I vaguely recall thinking that they left some crud on the cap. The guy I use is OK but I doubt he would have spent much time polishing the cap. These guys in general can't help but try to sell you some overpriced cap or some chit and he said if he did the install he would not have used that style cap. Seems to work but what do I know.

    FYI this is the style cap I have.

    Attached Files:

  17. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    A little crud is to be expected. Shouldn't be an issue as long as the screen is clear and you can see daylight through it.
  18. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

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    Well I shot up to the hardware store and got a soot eater and extension pack. Once I get myself set up I'm goin' in!
    remkel likes this.
  19. DanCorcoran

    DanCorcoran Minister of Fire

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    Be sure to insert rods from the bottom, all the way to the top without spinning, then spin from the top down. This keeps you from ripping the cap off, since it's difficult to feel the resistance of the cap when you're feeding spinning rods.
  20. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

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    Oh is that right? So go all the way up then come down a rod at a time?
  21. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

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    I ran the soot eater and got about 1/2-3/4 cup of this. It is very dry barely makes your fingers dirty when you rub it between them. It is black and brown. There is a little shine which concerns me because I'm no expert. What do you guys think? For perspective that is maybe 1/4 teaspoon in the middle of 10" paper plate. I made an appointment with a sweep for next Thursday, should I keep it?

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  22. milleo

    milleo Feeling the Heat

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    fire the stove up and see if anything has changed on how it burns.
  23. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

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    Gonna have to wait till tomorrow. Going to run the brush again in the morning then put it all back together.
  24. milleo

    milleo Feeling the Heat

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    And now that you own the soot eater you can clean your chimney anytime you need to.
  25. DanCorcoran

    DanCorcoran Minister of Fire

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    I read this suggestion on this website and it worked for me. YMMV...

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