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Stove won't draw; any suggestions appreciated (draft has been measured and is ok)

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by redhorse, Feb 12, 2011.

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  1. redhorse

    redhorse Member

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    We bought a Harman Tl 300 a couple weeks ago. The tech was out today because we can't get it to burn right. He measured draft with the bypass open (0.08) and closed (0.06). Harman says a minimum of 0.03 is required for this stove to work right.

    So, it's not the draft. The tech thinks it could be a air flow problem in the stove itself. Tonight, I tried to get some coals built up and after two hours, was unable to get the stove burning (unless I opened the ash door or front load door). The minute I closed everything up, with the air control wide open, the fire basically went out.

    Does anyone have any ideas on what the problem might be? Our wood is good (10-20% and Harman told us for this stove, 20% is actually better).

    Any thought are appreciated (as we sit here shivering in this really cold house).

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  2. WidowMaker

    WidowMaker Member

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    If the stove won't draw, how did you measure the draft, with the door open. What did your draft show with the door closed and the air controls of the set to burn as normal...
  3. learnin to burn

    learnin to burn Feeling the Heat

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    Try splitting a piece of your wood and measuring the moisture from the fresh split side.

    I'm thinking wet wood!
  4. redhorse

    redhorse Member

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    The tech was here yesterday morning. The draft was measured after we got a fire going (I had to leave the ash pan door open to get it going). Then we closed all doors and let it burn about 15 minutes that way and measured the draft. Then we closed the damper, got it kicked into AB for 5 minutes then measured the draft. Last night, I could get the wood to burn with the ash pan door open, but we didn't want to leave it that way for long periods of time. When we closed the door, the fire would die down enough it would not do much of anything -- almost like we cut off all air supply.

    We split four pieces of wood (needed to make kindling to restart the fire); moisture content was all below 20%, even on the inside. We have a batch of kiln dried also and it wouldn't even burn.
  5. learnin to burn

    learnin to burn Feeling the Heat

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    Has the knock out for the OAK been removed in the back of the pedestal?

    Have you tried having a window open near the stove when trying to burn?
  6. glassmanjpf

    glassmanjpf Member

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    Are there primary or secondary air intakes that perhaps the controls aren't controlling correctly? Not familiar with your stove. But perhaps they might have gotten stuck closed or clogged. Just a thought. Hope you figure it out
  7. redhorse

    redhorse Member

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    I believe it is (there's a 3" hole in the back of the pedestal in the very back piece of metal).

    We've tried the open window (actually door) trick and it hasn't seemed to do much... but we have not left it open very long (maybe a half hour to see if it made any difference and when it didn't, we closed it).

    If it is a pressure inversion issue, would the draft have measured 0.06 in the stove? The fire we had going wasn't a big roaring fire either.
  8. dougand3

    dougand3 Minister of Fire

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    Describe your chimney...Tall or short? Straight up or curved? Interior or Exterior? If kiln dried wood won't become a raging inferno with stove door cracked and house window open - seems like it must be chimney.
  9. learnin to burn

    learnin to burn Feeling the Heat

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    If you can safely remove the ash pan look in at the bottom of the stove and see if there is another knock out in the bottom of the stove or if the air inlet is blocked some how. Make sure the air controls are working correctly also.
  10. WhitePine

    WhitePine Feeling the Heat

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    Your description sounds like a brand new stove that hasn't been broken in. The firebricks still hold moisture. Did you follow the break in procedure? If your wood wasn't well seasoned, it would exacerbate the situation.
  11. DonNC

    DonNC Member

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    I have that problem but it is always the wood. Any chance u can double check your meter?

    once i get the box hot enough I can start closing it down. I just dont get as much heat out of the burn as when I find the random dry peice
    I usually hold the door open until the wood is afire... and when I close the door it dies down. I have to repeat until it finally stays let. Usually I throw pallet in there to kick start it.
  12. redhorse

    redhorse Member

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    Chimney is in an outside brick wall. Two story home, top of chimney is about 4-5' above rooftop. Straight up, masonry, but lined with 8" oval stainless.
  13. redhorse

    redhorse Member

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    There was no break in period suggested in the manual.

    The truth is, the stove was working better two weeks ago than it is now. At least two weeks ago we were able to get a good hot fire going. We can't even do that now, with drier, hotter burning wood.
  14. redhorse

    redhorse Member

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    No additional knock outs in the ash pan compartment. No air intake of any kind in there.

    When I had a fire going, I did play with the air control and watched the coals change in color, so I think that's working. But I'm going to crawl under there and see for sure.
  15. redhorse

    redhorse Member

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    We bought some kiln dried 12% just in case...
  16. redhorse

    redhorse Member

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    Next on our list it to get someone out here to inspect from the stove to the cap (more for safety right now actually). But if the dealer says a draft of 0.03 is the minimal required and a draft of 0.06 is perfect, and our draft is 0.06, even if a bad connection were causing a draft issue, the draft we have is good enough by their definition...
  17. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    Having a stove operate properly doesn't involve many things. Seasoned wood, stove in good working order and a chimney in good working order.

    How are you building the fire from a cold start? At what point do you start to close the primary air etc?
  18. dougand3

    dougand3 Minister of Fire

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    Is the SS liner insulated? If not, rockwool/kaowool insulation at the top may cause liner inside masonry to heat up and improve draft.
  19. redhorse

    redhorse Member

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    We use small dry kindling about 1" in diameter on top of crumpled newspaper, then add 2", in a teepee, them keep adding larger pieces. We add smaller splits until we get at least a 2" charcoal bed. All this time we have the primary air open. Once we get the load door to 400, we close the bypass damper and try for secondary. If we don't get it, we up the temp 50 degrees and try again. Usually goes in between 450 and 500.

    The problem we are having now is that if we close all doors, even the startup fire dies (even if it's going good).

    I really think it's an airflow issue. Just can't figure out why.
  20. redhorse

    redhorse Member

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    Nope, I don't think it's insulated. But if our draft is at 0.06, does it need to be imnproved?
  21. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    So the stove worked better when it was first purchased? If it worked better when you first bought it I have trouble believing the stove has developed a problem in the short time you've owned it.(anything can happen though) I'd lean more towards the chimney or wood even if they both are testing "ok". I'll be curious to see what happens when the chimney is inspected.
  22. dougand3

    dougand3 Minister of Fire

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    I dunno about draft measurement #'s. Even if they are within tolerances, you have a real life problem. The TL300 manual states may use 6" or 8" round chimney or 8x8 or 8x12 masonry. Wow, that's a big range. With a 6" flue exit (28 sq in) - hard to believe it'd be happy with 8x12" (96 sq in).
    Like you said above - call in the pro and get an inspection.
  23. branchburner

    branchburner Minister of Fire

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    The stove is brand new, not used, correct? And is the fire going out (really "out" all the way?)with the bypass damper open, or only when it is closed?
  24. grateful

    grateful New Member

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    Eastern WA
    I owned a Harmon Oakwood a few years ago, it worked well for the first winter (3 months use) then it just died. It would not burn anything, just smoked outside and smelled bad inside the house. I disassembled the stove to remove it and found that the fiberglass gaskets could not tolerate the heat and were leaking. The after burner package can become plugged easily and needs to be removed and vacuumed. If I recall correctly Harmon does not address cleaning the afterburner package in their manual. I had a fiber insulation after burner that was very fragile, I think Harmon changed the material to some kind of mineral that is a bit sturdier, either way be very careful when cleaning. I spent way too much time trying to solve the Oakwood's problems, sealing all of the double wall stove pipe seams, replacing gaskets... Traded it in for a Regency and life is good. I almost exchanged for a TL300 but came to the realization that a real wood stove with a history of reliability was the better choice. It may sound ridiculous - if you have access to another wood stove hook it up to the same chimney( after a chimney inspection) and see what happens.

    Grateful
  25. traditions

    traditions New Member

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    Do you have a chimney clean out that you can look up the chimney with a small mirror to see if the top is clogged up with soot?
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