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Soot on vinyl siding above vent

Post in 'It's a Gas!' started by stripedbass, Sep 19, 2012.

  1. stripedbass

    stripedbass Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2010
    Messages:
    57
    Loc:
    Boston
    I have a Vermont Castings vented gas fireplace heater model SDV30RF. It's a direct vent.

    I'm on the 3rd floor of a condo building.

    I bought the heater used and was installed in March 2010 and I pulled a permit.

    The heater served me really well last winter. It heated up my whole 535-square feet condo. I love it.

    However, three days ago I noticed that there was some soot just above the vent on the vinyl siding and below the gutter on the roof.

    Is this normal? My concern is that the vinyl siding is going to get darker from the soot once I begin using the heater when it gets cold. The condo board will in turn have me address the issue.

    I have also included a photo of the heater. The glass appears clear except that a part of it has a whitish or foggy look.

    Any suggestions as to what (if anything) is wrong and what to do? Should I call a technician or plumber?

    Attached Files:

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  2. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2006
    Messages:
    5,990
    Loc:
    madison hgts. va
    in my eyes im seeing from the pictures and the post that the fire is not burning as cleanly or completely as it should. the whitish buildup on the glass shouldnt be there. either we are not getting the proper airflow through the unit or we have excessive impingement of the flames on the log set. most log included sets are meant to direct the flames up between the logs without a lot of contact between the flame itself and the logs. check the log set with the stove shut down for soot streaking or signs of flames really burning hard against them. if so see if you can reposition them so this is not happening. while you are in there also take the time to inspect the burner tubes for excessive whitish buildup on the "pinholes" in the tubes where the gas jets out, these should be clear as the size of each hole is important for a clean burn.

    hope this helps
  3. stripedbass

    stripedbass Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2010
    Messages:
    57
    Loc:
    Boston
    Hi,

    Many thanks for your feedback. One correction: The photo of my heater was taken a day or two ago when the heater was not on. I have not turned on the heater since last winter.

    Does this make a difference in terms of your original response?
  4. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2008
    Messages:
    5,394
    Loc:
    Averill Park, NY, on Burden Lake II...

    The sooting on your vinyl siding is generally caused by an incorrect air shutter setting on the burner tube. It acts similar to a carburetor in that it controls the air-to-fuel ratio. You are running RICH. Your flames probably look a little orange & have darker almost black tips on them. Your owners manual should specify the air shutter settings for either LP or NG fuel. If you don't have the manual & can't locate one on line, open your air shutter 1/16" & let the unit burn for 20 minutes to see if the flame appearance improves. If not, repeat until the flames are yellow at the tips & more blue at the burner tube/pan...The filmy appearance of your glass is a normal occurance of burning a new gas unit. All the stuff in the fire box will out gas until they've cured. This includes paints, oils, & adhesives used in the manufacture of the unit, & maybe even the imitation log set. Get yourself some Rutland "White-Off" or a container of the polish that is used on the newer ceramic top electric cookstoves & clean the glass. It's very similar to a very fine rubbing compound. Apply it using the "Mr. Myagi Technique" & wipe it off with a paper towel...Let us know how you make out...
  5. stripedbass

    stripedbass Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2010
    Messages:
    57
    Loc:
    Boston
    DAKSY,

    I have the manual. The previous owner was very careful with this heater. He sold me everything that came with it and everything was in very good shape. I'll contact the plumber who did the gas hook-up and ask him whether he can make the adjustment on the air shutter setting, as you advised. I'll let you know what happens. Thank you very much.
  6. stripedbass

    stripedbass Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2010
    Messages:
    57
    Loc:
    Boston
    My Vermont Castings Stardance stove has been producing some soot above the vent termination cap on the outside of the building.

    I brought in another technician instead of the one who installed it. The new guy seems to do more work with with Vermont Castings. His store is a VC dealer.

    When he looked at my stove while it was on, he said that there is no way the conversion kit (LP to Natural Gas) is the correct one for the model that I have. (If it turns out to be true that the installer used a conversion kit not made for my stove, I'll be quite pissed.). For instance, he (the new technician) said that when you turn the flames to low, they are still quite large.

    However, he did not take the stove apart. He cleaned it and said we should look for a conversion kit for my stove then he would return to install it. The kits were discontinued in 2010. But by searching around on the Web, I was able to find an authentic kit. I have not ordered it yet.

    I'm just wondering whether there is a way to confirm whether the kit that I presently have in my stove is indeed the wrong one. It would be a bummer to order a new one, only to find out that the one I already have is the correct one! I desperately want to believe my technician but not knowing much about stoves, I'm trying to cover myself before I begin dishing out more money.

    Or is buying and installing a new conversion kit the only way to know why my stove is causing soot on the vinyl siding outside above the vent termination cap?
  7. Heatsource

    Heatsource Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2011
    Messages:
    786
    Loc:
    Northern CA
    i see quite a few aftermarket/homemade soot shields installed above hz dv caps
    (i guess the some shops dont want to hassle w/derating the appliance- lpg over 3000' elevation....)

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