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Reduced Draft?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Badger, Jan 22, 2013.

  1. Badger

    Badger Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2012
    Messages:
    63
    Loc:
    Central Minnesota
    Hey guys... Don't know if it is my paranoid, over active imagination or this is actually happening, but the draft on my princess seems to be considerably lower. I used to be worried when I was heating up a load of wood if I had the thermostat set above 2.5 that I would suck flames halfway up the stovepipe... now for the last two days I've been able to crank her up to 3 and she gradually gets lit. The only difference is the outside temp. Last night it was around 8 below and tonight it is around zero. I would think that would increase my draft.

    Is anyone else experiencing the same issue, or is this a sign?

    I have 16 of icc chimney on the outside of my house, and about 4 of stovepipe inside.

    I cleaned about 3 weeks ago after 6 weeks of burning and got 2 cups of soot in the chimney, but didn't clean the stovepipe. I did however look at the stovepipe a week before I cleaned when I was sealing up joints and it didn't look too dirty.

    I did go look at my chimney cap (no screen) and I can see right through it. There are a couple creocicles hanging but other than that it looks good.

    I have let it burn in bypass mode for 15-20 minutes and it doesn't seem to help.

    Should I stop burning til the weekend when I have a chance to look up the clean out, or is this normal for this time of year on an exterior chimney?

    Thanks in advance

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  2. remkel

    remkel Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2010
    Messages:
    1,459
    Loc:
    Southwest NH
    Just wondering what your wood is like. I am wondering if the perceived loss of draft is actually not quite seasoned wood taking longer to light off. Although 2 cups is not that much, the short period (6 weeks) and your note about the creosicles lead me towards your fuel. As for shutting her down, if you just cleaned you should be all set. You might try smaller splits to see if that makes any difference.
  3. Badger

    Badger Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2012
    Messages:
    63
    Loc:
    Central Minnesota
    I'm burning Tamarac that blew down 2 years ago and I c/c/s in April. Although I didn't measure it all, out of the same load I measured 13% on a fresh split. It was covered, but maybe these were on the pallet?

    I'll probably just shut her down after tonight until the weekend... I only have 2/3's a cord left for this year and I'm burning 24/7... I'll also grab a split and wack it in half to check the moisture content tomorrow.
  4. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    48,996
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    How closely did you look at your cap? I looked at ours with binoculars and thought it was passable. When l looked at it up front and person, it definitely wasn't .
  5. Badger

    Badger Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2012
    Messages:
    63
    Loc:
    Central Minnesota
    Begreen, thanks for the response.

    I can lean over the edge of my deck and be about 8 feet below it and 8 feet away from it. Not the ideal angle, but I can clearly see my flashlight shinning off of the under side (sooty) of the cap. The far side could be plugged, but the smoke didn't seem to have any issue blowing in that direction as the breeze changed direction.
  6. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
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    48,996
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    Could be the wood, or the flue. Is it easy to pull the cap and check the pipe?
  7. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2007
    Messages:
    7,218
    Loc:
    N.E. Penna
    When was the last time you cleaned the cat? Has it ever been replaced?

    pen
  8. Badger

    Badger Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2012
    Messages:
    63
    Loc:
    Central Minnesota
    Thanks for the additional input guys. It is a new cat for December and I did take the time to clean it tonight. Also, I noticed the gasket on the door had some build up on it so I suspect there was an air leak there. I grabbed a pin and cleaned the gasket and re-fluffed it.

    When I looked at the cat it was pretty clean although I used a vacuum to clean it off a little.

    I did go outside and took the cap off of my clean out. There was a good cup of flaky creosote in it, which made me worried at first. I then looked up the chimney with my spot light and it looked pretty clean except the chimney cap. Maybe you guys were right all along...

    Any way, I'm not going up I the roof tonight as it is zero out and quite windy, that will need to wait until Sunday. I'm guessing the bottom half of my cap (which I can't see from my deck) is blocked up a little and I'll have to clean it out.

    Thanks for all the help, I'll update on Sunday.
    pen likes this.

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