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Secondary Burn Issues

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by browell33, Feb 15, 2013.

  1. browell33

    browell33 New Member

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    I am sorry if this has been covered before but I am new to the forum and am very frustrated with my wood stove. Just over a year ago my parents gave me their old Jotul 500. That had it refurbished, great stove for them, just wanted to give it to me to have a great stove in my home. Has been a great stove up until a month ago, when I now have just not been able to get the burn it used to get, especially when it comes to the secondary burn. I used to (just a month ago) be able to get the stove going and completely shut the dampener down and the flames would roll in the top over the wood and would burn for hours. Now I get the stove going and shut it down and the fire dies.

    I have cleaned out the stove completely. I have had the chimney cleaned (chimney and flue are new to the house, about three years old). I have tried to contact dealers and ask them questions and have done everything they have told me to do or try with no luck. Now a dealer is saying to try the dollar bill trick. Does that make sense? Wouldn't I have an out of control fire if that were the case, not one that would completely die off?

    Well any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. I have loved this stove up until now, but very frustrating to not be able to get it to do what it has done in the past. Thanks.

    Ben

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    The symptoms sound like poorly seasoned wood. Did you recently switch to a different stack? Try some known dry wood, say a bundle of kiln dried from the grocery or hardware store as a test.
    Fod01 and PapaDave like this.
  3. corey21

    corey21 Minister of Fire

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    How tall is your chimney?
    How seasoned is your wood supply?
  4. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    How recent was the cleaning? Check the cap
    PapaDave likes this.
  5. browell33

    browell33 New Member

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    The cleaning was done 2 days ago. As for the wood, I am using the same mix that I was using before my troubles started. As for if it is seasoned or not, this wood is the same I used last year, is at least 2 years old (split and stacked at my house). Not entirely sure how tall the chimney is but my house is over 2 stories tall with an attic, and the chimney goes above the peak of the house.

    I guess I will have to purchase some dry wood from a store and a meter to determine how much water is in the wood. I have burned wood in this stove before that has had a little sizzle to it and have still gotten better results than what I am getting now. Not getting any sizzle in the wood when I burn now. So is not the gasket issue?

    Thanks.
  6. browell33

    browell33 New Member

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    This just doesn't make sense! AHHHHH.
  7. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    There is a logical reason, we just need to figure out what.
    Wood is a possibility. Resplit a couple of medium splits and press the freshly split surface up against your cheek. Does it feel cold and damp? If so, it may be the wood. You can run into a different species in the middle of a stack or a wet area where water was seeping into the pile. Dry wood from the store would rule this out.
    Check the flue cap screen to make sure they thoroughly cleaned it
    Check the action of the air control by removing the doghouse cover (10mm bolts) and assert that the lever handle is still engaging the slider valve.
    loon likes this.
  8. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Another thought. When they cleaned the stove did they pull the top or did they pull the baffle? Is the baffle in the correct position and not cracked? As a last chance you might check to see if when they cleaned they left a soot debris pile on top of the baffle that might be partially blocking the flue exit.
    PapaDave likes this.
  9. flyingpig

    flyingpig Member

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    At what temp that you shut down the damper? Stove top thermometer will give much better idea whether it's ready for secondary burn or not than just an eye ball.
  10. browell33

    browell33 New Member

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    Not sure if there is a flue cap screen or not. Just has a stone cap as the picture shows. They cleaned from the clean-out in the basement, not sure about the baffle but no soot was left in the clean-out or where the stovepipe enters the chimney.

    As for the temp that I shut down the stove, I would let the stove get hot and a good fire going first (anywhere from 300-400 degrees). Shut the doors and would watch it come back down a bit, and would either have to finesse it a bit more or it would drop down below 300 and then start climbing on it's own, at which point I could close the dampener down all the way and I could walk away for hours before coming back to reload. Or it would get going right away and I could shut it down.

    Attached Files:

  11. sailor61

    sailor61 Burning Hunk

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    sounds like wood that has not seasoned long enough. just a matter of a few points of moisture can make a big difference. go to the grocery store and pop for the absurdly overpriced kiln dried stuff they have and give that a shot.
  12. ditchrider

    ditchrider Burning Hunk

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    Just a thought...
    When I installed the OAK on my stove, I found the vents where the secondary air came into the stove. The vents are large enough to allow mice, spiders to other small critters to climb in or build a nest or spider web. What makes me think of this is I have a propane cooking range that worked great when I bought it. I moved it into a different kitchen and in the meantime a spider built a web into the gas pipe for the oven manifold. Total chaos until I found the problem (ignition, fuel combustion, fumes) and cleaned out the tube. Simple fix. Perplexing symptoms.

    You may want to get a shop vac (super sucker) and vacuum the secondary vents on the outside of the stove. Get a helper to listen to the secondary tubes on the inside of the stove to see if you are making a difference. Start with a clean vac canister and filter and when you are done you can see if you were able to suck out any material that caused the restriction.
  13. Kevin Dolan

    Kevin Dolan Burning Hunk

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    If you have to keep your doors open to get stove up to 300-400 sounds like your wood is the issue or one of them, just a thought.
  14. browell33

    browell33 New Member

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    I definitely agree that my wood could be the issue, as I got it from a guy who said it was seasoned. But man, it used to work! AND with the same wood! Can you tell the frustration. I am definitely going to buy some dry wood from a store and see what happens. What will happen if that is the issue? Will the stove heat right up fast?
    prezes13 likes this.
  15. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

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    browell33, welcome to the Hearth.
    Since they cleaned from the clean-out, did that get closed and resealed?
    This does sound more like a not so well seasoned wood situation, though.
    If you were burning a type of wood that dries well in just a couple of years, then switched to Oak, it may not be dry enough.
    Where was this stuff stacked? Did it get a bunch wind?
    Was the stuff you're now burning in the middle of a cord that was stacked tightly?
    The devil is in the details.
    Nice house.
  16. Fod01

    Fod01 Feeling the Heat

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    You may have just hit a pocket of less than optimal wood. Twice this season I've hit some questionable stuff from the same stack.
    Redlegs and gyrfalcon like this.
  17. browell33

    browell33 New Member

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    Thanks Dave and everyone else. Maybe it is the wood and I just don't want to believe it. The wood got plenty of wind and sun, and is now in my basement. I am wondering if that could be a problem. Can it become unseasoned a bit when brought inside to a dirt floor basement(it is up on pallets)? It is not damp down there, but I don't know maybe it isn't good for the wood. I have been storing it down there in the winter with no problems until now.
  18. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    It sounds like the stove is connected directly into the chimney with no liner. Is that correct? If so, that could be a contributing issue. What is the interior dimension of the clay tile liner in the chimney.

    As a test, go down to the basement and duct tape the cleanout door shut. See if that changes things.
  19. Kevin Dolan

    Kevin Dolan Burning Hunk

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    Depends if it is from a cold start or a bed of coals. Cold start it should take twenty minutes to thirty to get up close to the 400, I only have my door open for a few minutes then close it. Hot coal bed it should be there in half that time. I have had the same issue it seems you may have, some wood burns great and take wood from the same pile and it just shuts down the fire. Testing the wood with a moisture meter showed me it was 25% moisture plus- in the same pile! As much as it is a pain to split, stack and dry wood it really pays of in the end with consistent burning. If it is your wood that is variable in moisture content you at least can solve that for next year by working on drier wood. For this year need to find some dry stuff to blend with the not so good to make it through the season.
  20. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    If they cleaned the chimney using the clean out did they take the pipe a part to clean that or?

    Split a bunch of the stuff you have down to kindling size pieces and see if that helps just for a test.
  21. browell33

    browell33 New Member

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    They did take the pipe off and cleaned it. The clay tiles are 6"x6". I duct taped the clean-out and will see how that works as well.
  22. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    The Oslo has a layer of ceramic wool on top of the baffle. Make sure the blanket isn't pushed up, partially blocking the flue. Also make sure the baffle is pushed all the way back and seated good.
  23. Bub381

    Bub381 Minister of Fire

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    I have been hitting these damp pockets of wood this winter and i just leave the bypass open longer.Not to throw it at you but i had a stove with 2ndaries,glad i got my cat because this was becoming a problem.NOW??? Not so much.
  24. browell33

    browell33 New Member

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    These could be stupid questions. Which way is "back" when talking about the blanket? Should it be all the way forward towards the front of the stove? The baffle is/are the tubes with the holes in them right? Which way should that go in relation to the front of the stove? Thanks.
  25. browell33

    browell33 New Member

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    You know what, I am not able to get stove up to temperature very easily either. Used to climb on it's own but now I feel like I have to force the air to it to get the heat going.

    Well, I mean it gives off great heat but doesn't stay up at a decent temp for very long.

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