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Someone please help - cant get stove hot enough

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by kflorence, Dec 1, 2008.

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  1. woodconvert

    woodconvert Minister of Fire

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    You say it's a masonry chimney with a partial liner. I'm not familiar with stove operation with a liner but this caught my eye:

    I've got a masonry chimney and if it's cold out and you are starting a fire from scratch it's gunna take you a longer than you think to heat up that chimney nice n' hot. Think along the lines of an hour plus to get it going properly. Plenty of kindling, keep adding small splits (I start with three to five small splits [small being 3" or less]), keep the front door cracked about 1/4" and don't let the draft suck it shut, let that partially burn down then add some more splits. Gradually increase the size and quantity of the splits as the intensity of the fire increases. If your wood is good, that should get you where you need to go.

    It sounds to me that you are not letting the fire get intense enough for long enough before you cut the air down OR you have bad wood. Does the wood "hiss" at all after you add some to the fire?

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  2. karri0n

    karri0n New Member

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    Personally, I think it was thwe baffles. You won't get any heat output if the baffles are messed up. You have probably fixed the problem. With roughly 20+ feet of central chimney, you will probably have some draft even on a cold chimney. Try it now that you have seated the baffles correctly; you may be surprised. There are lots of people who have a direct connect, and while it's not the greatest, it's not a death sentence either. Obviously your installers are still in business, and have done that type of install before.
  3. kflorence

    kflorence New Member

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    OK, thank you. I did not know that. Again, woodstoves are very new to us. The red oak is only from the spring so I guess it is not nearly seasoned enough. Will stop using immediately.
  4. kflorence

    kflorence New Member

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    Everything you have said we are doing. We are in it for 3-45 minutes with kindling before adding any wood splits and it catches but only goes to 300 degrees or so. the stove will be burning wood for 4-6 hours, we keep adding wood and it stays at 300 or so, even under 300. I bought seasoned wood at home depot to see if it was out wood and it did the same thing.
  5. kflorence

    kflorence New Member

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    I hope you are right. I am going out now to purchase a bundle of "seasoned" wood and will start the fire. I truly hope that it was the baffles. I will post soon to let you all know how I did. Thank you all for your support and opinions.
  6. LeonMSPT

    LeonMSPT Minister of Fire

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    I don't know much. My cousin runs a shop that has sold and serviced woodstoves, fireplaces, and chimneys for many years. Personally been burning wood most of my life, even as a kid. Stove or fireplace isn't hot enough? You either have an air supply problem or a draft problem. Unless you're getting your wood off the ground in a swamp and throwing it in your beast, even green wood will burn hot with enough air and a decent bed of coals, with a few sticks of dry wood to get the gasses and initiate combustion. Makes a mess, but it'll burn hot. See those fires out in California? Maine? Forest fires... most of that wood is green, still has roots in the ground.

    I've done three inserts with full liners. One replaced an "Old Mill" insert, which was basically a big airtight stove stuck in the fireplace opening, with the damper left in place, open. What a piece of "work" that one was. Hot? Heck yes, as long as the pink insulation the "installer" had chinked the surround with was in place. Speaking of which, the pink was black in places with the dust and dirt filtered out of the air sucked through it over the years. My parents, who bought the house, had the chimney cleaned the second fall. Involved wrestling that 500 pound beast onto the floor near the hearth and having a chimney sweep come.

    He said, "I don't really even want to touch this. This was how they did them when they didn't know any better. I am going to do it as a favor, and clean it as a regular fireplace like it is without the insert in it. You do what you want to, once I am gone. But I am not participating in putting that insert back in there." He hauled five, five gallon buckets of creosote out. I talked to my cousin and he set us up and I did it. First one I'd even done... cleaned it myself this fall, after two years. Got, maybe 3 inches of fluffy stuff and dust out of the last 4 feet, the rest was so clean the brush nearly dropped out of my hands when I got below the top four feet.

    It sounds like there is no plate sealing the area around the connector pipe to me. You're losing your draft around the insert and up the chimney instead of pulling the air through the insert and making the fire go. The chimney is the motor driving the fire. Your transmission sounds like it's slipping. Absent that, some issue with the air intake is possible, and investigate both issues and I believe you'll find the fix.

    What you've got should be plenty safe to use, once you figure out your draft/air supply issues. If it were mine, I'd plan to add a full liner when I cleaned it the first time. You will have to pull the insert to clean it properly anyway, and that's the largest labor.

    I haven't seen the components installed in your chimney, so it's difficult to assess from here. It sounds like a connector was put up the chimney to the level of the clay liner, and then connected to the insert, and no block-off plate was installed (again). Advantages in a full liner is a booming draft, like you read about.

    Not fully familiar with the specifics, but I think the ratio is something like 10 to 1 for fireplace opening to flu dimensions. Likely have a six or eight inch pipe discharging into a culvert (relatively) sized space. Stack velocity plummets and immediately cooling and condensation occurs, causing creosote build up.

    Please, keep the list informed of the solution, which I am sure you will find.
  7. kflorence

    kflorence New Member

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    ok everyone reading. I dug out the paperwork on the installer. My flue size is 12x12 clay tiled. I dont know the size of the tiles. My husband will go up there after work and measure the tiles. So if I got this right I have a 6'' liner going into a 12x12 flue. Seems to me that it would take a lot to heat that up. I will start a fire now with the baffles in place and see what happens. I will post soon.
  8. woodconvert

    woodconvert Minister of Fire

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    There is at least a big part of your problem. You'll soon know if your baffle is the other part. Have you got anyone that you can buy a cord or two of good firewood to get you by?
  9. karri0n

    karri0n New Member

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    My chimney is central, with a big brick central fireplace just like you are talking about. I also have around 25 feet of chimney. If I disconnect the elbow, and put my hand under where the flue is, it's like a vacuum cleaner, even if I haven't had a fire in days. The lack of draft in a direct connect setup like you have is due to it taking longer to heat the chimney than if it were a metal liner going all the way up. If your stack is central to the house, however, it won't be anywhere near as cold as an exterior masonry chimney, and even when cold the chimney will produce draft.
  10. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    That 12x12 is way too big. Probably against code and the stove manufactures installation recommendations. Your draft is suffering for it, you need a full liner.
  11. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    The NFPA 211 standard for direct connect to an interior (no walls exposed to the outside below the roof) masonry flue is that the flue cross-sectional area be no more than 3 times the area of the appliance flue collar. Your flue collar cross-sectional area is 28.3 square inches, dumping into the chimney flue which is (assuming that's what the installer's paperwork was citing) 144 square inches. That's a multiple of slightly over 5 tiimes the area. This configuration will contribute to poor performance. The installer really should have recommended a full liner. Rick
  12. kflorence

    kflorence New Member

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    I adjusted the baffles, went out and bought seasoned wood at home depot. Got a good coal going, and added wood a little at time to get it up going good. I have been at it for about 2 hours now and the temp is at 275 degrees. I put 2 medium size in, the fire died down, had to leave the door open 2 inches or so to keep the fire going and the temp dropped to 250. I am very upset at this time. I agree with you. We never asked for the set up they gave us. We thought we were getting a full liner. Not until they were fineshed with the install and collect the money I asked when did they put the flue pipe in, I never saw them go on the roof. That is when I was told they were not doing that way. was not necessary. I went through the entire bundle and now the last 2 pieces I put in the fire died down to smoldering. I give up. I am calling the installer now and ready for the big fight. I will post shortly.
  13. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    Don't forget to ask them whether or not they installed a block-off plate. Your best installation would include both a block-off plate in the damper throat area of the chimney and a full 6" stainless steel liner to the top, another closure plate, then the cap above. Rick
  14. kflorence

    kflorence New Member

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    Thank you! I have called the company and am currently waiting for the mason installer to call me back. I dont know how the conversation will go but I am going to be very adament about what all of you are telling me. I read the manual and the manuel even says that a "minumum" of 15 feet for the liner. At best I think I have 4-5 feet. I dont know why he would install not to code but he will have to explain alot when he calls. I will not accept anything less than what you recommend above. Many of you are giving the same recommendations as the manual and I just cannot believe the installer would install this way even when the manual says minimum of 15 feet of liner. My wood stove is currently burning at 225 degrees with the wood burning. It has been 3 1/2 hours of this. Should have been hot by now so I know it is the set up. One last question for now.... I pulled a permit with the city and the installers company is on the permit. I am calling the city to come out and inspect now that the wood stove is installed. What will the city do about this seeing the company is on the permit? Will they also make them come out and do it right? Does the city of Mannchester have the authority to make them corrent this?
  15. karri0n

    karri0n New Member

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    If there is a code violation, the city will probably not allow you to burn the appliance upon inspection, especially if you tell them that the chimney is not fully lined. That being said, they probably will assess some type of fine to the installer. I don't know if they will make them do it correctly free of cost to you, however. If they will not, I would suggest another, more reputable installer.
  16. kflorence

    kflorence New Member

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    ??? Not quite sure what you are saying. Are you saying this is normal and that burning wood for 8-10 hours with only at 275 -300 degrees is ok, that it just takes longer because I have a center chimney?? Shouuld I be burning for days before the temp rises? Please explain.
  17. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    The city inspector will be concerned with code and clearances...safety. Not performance. He/she may or may not sign off on the installation the way it is right now. I don't know the codes there. If the inspector won't sign off on it, then you've got good ammo to go after the installer, but only for those aspects of the installation the inspector didn't like. If the performance related problems go beyond the safety/code related items (if any), then the city has nothing to do with it. Rick
  18. kflorence

    kflorence New Member

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    OK, good to know. The inspector is coming tomorrow morning. I will have to wait and see what he says. Still waiting for the mason to call, I hope he is not purposely avoiding me.
  19. karri0n

    karri0n New Member

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    No, I was saying that you will have more draft than someone in the same situation as you, whose chimney is located on the exterior of the house, rather than the center. This was just a suggestion that it might not be a draft issue, considering you have a central chimney, but since you have fixed the baffles now, then it is likely that the draft is indeed the issue. I apologize for any confusion.
  20. kflorence

    kflorence New Member

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    It has not really been that cold out yet. I am doing everything you say with the exception that we never even close the draft it is open all the way because if we close it the flames die out. We dont cut down the air. I understand that when the temp get up therre and the wood is burning good to slowing reduce the draft. I dont even have the opportunity to close the draft, the temp never reaches an acceptable temp.
  21. kflorence

    kflorence New Member

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    that is ok, dont worry about it. I am taking everything that all of you are saying with great appreciation. I am just trying to understand the wood stove and its issues.
  22. kflorence

    kflorence New Member

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    Wow, that is alot of info. thanks. i got everything you were saying except you mention an "issue with the air intake", what do you mean? I leave the draft handle all the way open and the door open an inch or so. please clarity.
  23. karri0n

    karri0n New Member

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    I'm fairly certain he's saying he thinks you have no block-off plate, which would account for a very very poor draft. That makes a lot of sense, because the air would just go around the stove rather than in it.
  24. brogsie

    brogsie Feeling the Heat

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    It seems to me you are not using enough wood.
    The bundles at home depot are not very big.
    Buy a couple of bundles and don't be afraid to use 3 or four good
    size splits once the fire gets going. The fire should not be going out at this
    point. That wood is usually kiln dried and should burn nicely.
  25. kflorence

    kflorence New Member

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    thanks for clarifing. The 1st question i will have for the installer when he calls back is about the block off plate. I have no idea what they did so i should be able to find out soon. will post the outcome.
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