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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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    The stove is new from the factory. The fire dies down and smokes until it goes out with the bypass open, unless we crack the the ash pan door or front load door, in which case the fire just roars.

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  2. redhorse

    redhorse Member

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    According to the tech that was here, the firedome is still made of fiberglass (but he didn't really sound like he was an authority and had never even seen one of these stoves burn). Don't have access to another wood stove, but had an old one in here that seemed to work fine before we pulled it to put in this one.

    No, Harman does not address cleaning the afterburner in the manual. We had decided to have a tech come and service the stove (clean it, inspect gaskets, etc) every spring and also have them clean/inspect the chimney. The tech pulled out some stones in inside, but did nothing in the back of the stove (said he could not do it by himself and needed an additional person).

    I'll pass this info along to the tech; he seems to be floundering right now.
  3. redhorse

    redhorse Member

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    Tried that Friday but can't seem to get quite the right angle to look up the chimney. But we had the chimney cleaned a couple weeks before we had the stove installed.
  4. dougand3

    dougand3 Minister of Fire

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    If you CAN get a roaring fire w/ front door cracked - that brings in a stove air intake problem possibility. But doesn't rule out lazy draft - liner too cool unless LOTS of hot gas feeding it. I still think an insulated liner will do wonders here.
  5. grateful

    grateful New Member

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    If your TL 300 worked fine for 2 weeks and nothing has changed in the internal or external environment then it is the stove, unless a raccoon took up residence in your chimney. I have an Excel Chimney, stainless insulated and it worked fine for 3 months with the Harmon. I'm using the same chimney with a Regency and have had no problems for 2 years. My Oakwood had the same combustion package that Your TL 300 has, the only difference is cast iron vs steel. My Oakwood had a small crack in the bottom under the firedome but that crack would typically improve burning. I was baffled when I could not get the Oakwood to burn and that propelled me to solve the problem (replaced most of the gaskets, i.e. top, side panels, front panel, door, no luck there! My time and expense. Most of the gaskets were leaking but that does not account for the stoves inability to burn even the driest kiln dried wood, it wouldn't burn with new gaskets! All of my Harmon's symptoms match your stoves symptoms except I had a bad smell in the house. If you do a quick search on the Hearth site, look for smoke smell or Harmon Oakwood and you will experience deja vu! I was delighted when the stove shop owner offered to exchange the Harmon for a stove of my choice.

    Grateful
  6. branchburner

    branchburner Minister of Fire

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    It does sound like the combustion air is not reaching the firebox for some reason. Maybe your tech can get an earlier-than-planned start on opening up the stove for cleaning and inspection. Removing the combustion package should show if the secondary inflow was obstructed.
  7. redhorse

    redhorse Member

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    We are to the point where we are hoping they offer us an exchange as well. I've just heard so many good things about this stove. I did a search and I got the "deja vu". Gives me some info to share with the tech. Thanks.
  8. redhorse

    redhorse Member

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    What scares me is that he has admitted never working on the TL300 before. I'm hoping he has some experience with the Harman firedome anyway; or that Harman will send someone who can perhaps make a better diagnosis.

    We're just flipping happy the weather is going to so nice this week (high in the 50s by Thursday). I don't even want to think about how much swearing would be going on around here if it were going to single digits all week.
  9. grateful

    grateful New Member

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    The stove shop that I purchased my Harmon from would send a chimney cleaning person over to check my stove, that didn't feel right so I did my own research and work.
    I checked the Harmon oakwood manual - the primary air supply is in the front of the stove, this is the air supply that feeds the combustion chamber until the bypass damper is closed. After the damper is closed the air is drawn from the secondary air supply in the back of the stove. I think the TL300 has the same primary and secondary. I vacuumed the warming channels of the primary air supply with a small hose attached to the shop vac, no ash accumulation in the channels. When I disassembled the stove the primary air channels were clean. If your TL 300 has a blockage it would have to be in the primary air supply, I don't think you will find anything there based on my experience. I put a piece of incense near the primary air supply to be sure there was adequate draw. When the stove is cool you can put the vacuum hose under the primary air intake and see if you get anything.
    Interesting that Harmon does not get involved in these issues, they refer you to the retailer.
    Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that pieces of cast iron cracked and fell off of my stove, Harmon sent me replacement parts, no charge.
  10. grateful

    grateful New Member

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    Fire your TL300 up when it is in the 50s, that will eliminate the cold chimney issue. Out here in Washington when it gets real cold and I have to clean the chimney I put a propane torch in the flue for 5 minutes to heat it.
  11. redhorse

    redhorse Member

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    We're planning on firing it up this week -- plus leaving a window open just to make sure it's not an inversion issue -- so wanted to do that during warmer weather. I can't help but think if it were a cold chimney problem, opening the front front load door or ash pan door wouldn't get the fire roaring immediately as it does.

    Propane torch? That's really a good idea. I usually just light a tighlty rolled/twisted stack of paper and hold it there for a minute or two...
  12. redhorse

    redhorse Member

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    We have a friend who is very good friends the daughter of the guy who invented the stove and she's pretty far up in the company currently. If we don't get anything resolved, he's going to give her a call to see if she can do anything.

    I would think Harman would have "super techs" that could be sent out to sites with these types of issues, particularly since the "trained techs" from the dealers really don't know much. And this tech? I scheduled him to come out and he called me that morning to let me know he was coming. His job is cleaning and maintaining these stoves. So I told him the top load door seal might be bad and he said he didn't carry gaskets on his truck -- he only carries the pieces he might need on a "regular basis." What? Wouldn't gaskets be a normal wear/tear item? If not gaskets, what parts would he carry instead?
  13. branchburner

    branchburner Minister of Fire

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    If the primary air was blocked, there would be little difference in the fire regardless of whether the air control was open or shut. Redhorse, how much of a difference does it make when the control is fully open vs. fully shut? (Assuming you have the ashpan and front doors shut.)
  14. redhorse

    redhorse Member

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    Very little difference. We do see a slight increase in the redness of the coals. When the tech was here, we shut all the doors and played with the air control side. He said it was working because the charcoal got brighter and dimmer. But the difference was barely noticeable, and there was certainly no flame that jumped up (like it did when cracking the front load door or ash pan door).
  15. DanCorcoran

    DanCorcoran Minister of Fire

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    Seems to me that you have your answer...something directly related to the air control.
  16. branchburner

    branchburner Minister of Fire

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    I don't know proportionally how much air enters the firebox from the primary openings and the secondary openings, but it comes from both, so I would not rule out the secondary source as the problem.

    If I get a really good fire going with the primary fully open, and then shut it fully, there is ample air still entering the box via the secondary channels to keep the fire going strong. (The flames will die off only at the very front of the firebox, where the primary feeds down as airwash from above the door glass.)

    Of course, since I cannot control the secondary, I have no way of knowing how the stove would perform if the secondary air was cut off. Of what little flames/coals may remain with the doors shut, do they appear to be fed from the front of the stove or the rear?
  17. redhorse

    redhorse Member

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    The rear, definitely.
  18. murawski

    murawski New Member

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    I had similiar problem. I only had 11 feet of chimney.I added 6 feet of class a chimney pipe to my existing>
    How many feet do you have of total chimney pipe - inside and outside?

    Mike
  19. branchburner

    branchburner Minister of Fire

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    You have 6" round pipe going to 8" oval, and it's a continuous liner all the way from stove to chimney top, correct? How is the stovepipe connected to the 8" liner (are all connections screwed), and is there any chance that there is a leak somewhere in the flue setup that is compromising the draft? Just wondering if there's something about the install that is causing a draft problem, in spite of the seemingly good draft measurements.
  20. redhorse

    redhorse Member

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    Hmmm, two story, about 8' each, 3' from the floor, then another 5' above the roof... 18 or 19' probably?
  21. redhorse

    redhorse Member

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    I need to check with installer on this to be sure. They were supposed to use a 6" to 8" connector. But when they pulled everything apart, they said they found hte 8" going to the liner by simply butting up against it (no connection). So they said they reused the 8" original pipe and crimped the end to fit it inside the liner and stuffed it full of insulation. I don't know how the 6" fits with that (if the 6" is inside the 8" and simply hanging out in the liner, or if the 6" is connected to the 8", etc.). I have a phone call to the installer but have not heard back anything yet.
  22. grateful

    grateful New Member

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    Since you have a Harmon connection I will just sit back and read the posts, wish I had a connection when I had the Oakwood. After extensive research I chose Harmon because I wanted low emissions and a top loader. My house has a boiler but my primary heat is wood and I could not delay any longer so I traded it in. Good luck and please let us know what caused your TL300 dilemma.

    Grateful
  23. branchburner

    branchburner Minister of Fire

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    I don't like how that sounds. I would focus on getting that connction corrected - everything should fit snugly, in a continuous and airtight manner. Insulation to fill space between a joint of different size pipes is not airtight and is unacceptable.
  24. murawski

    murawski New Member

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    Redhorse, give me a call 978-875-0973 want to speak with you about our stove problems

    Mike
  25. branchburner

    branchburner Minister of Fire

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    Still having draft probs?
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