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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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    I don't like it either. I finally got word back from the installer -- they just put the 6" inside the 8". The 8" in crimped into a hole in the liner; the 6" is just sitting inside of it, but the 6" does run in one continuous piece from the stove to the opening in the liner and he said the crimp is fairly snug. The insulation is stuffed between the two pipes at the end closest to the stove.

    Just one more thing to get fixed... sigh.

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  2. redhorse

    redhorse Member

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    Ok, I just went out to the chimney cleanout to check for chimney obstructions. I have a piece of foil over the cleanout door right now since it's not air tight.

    I pulled the foil and there is nothing blocking the chimney. However, when I went to put the foil back in place, it sucked right onto the opening and stayed there without closing the door. The stove has been shut down since Friday, so the chimney is not warm and it seems to me that if the foil gets sucked onto the opening like that, there is definitely draft.

    So I go inside and check the stove, light a match, hold it up to the damper opening and not much draft. Now I can't figure out there is good draft in the chimney and not much at the stove. I guess I need to do more exploring...
  3. dougand3

    dougand3 Minister of Fire

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    Is the chimney cleanout downstream from the 6" to 8" jury rigged connection? I'd get the 6"- 8" connection airtight.
  4. branchburner

    branchburner Minister of Fire

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    The draft should be in the liner, not the chimney itself. If the chimney liner runs airtight from the stove to the chimney top, and is sealed there with a top plate, there should be no airflow in the chimney space that surrounds the liner - that should be dead air. So my next question - is there a sealed top plate that the liner goes through when it reaches the chimney top?
  5. redhorse

    redhorse Member

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    Yes, about 2 to 3 feet.
  6. redhorse

    redhorse Member

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    I don't believe so; I think the liner goes up and has a chimney cap. But I'll have to get up there to see for sure. When I looked up the chimney with the mirror, I could only see out of the liner, if that makes any sense (I could only see an oval of light, not an oval inside a square).
  7. branchburner

    branchburner Minister of Fire

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    Not sure if I can picture your setup, but it sounds like there may be a few possible ways air could be drawn into that flue. Any significant leaks could be compromising the draft, and I'd say the odds of that are much more likely than any defect in the stove itself. Rather than simply getting feedback from the original installer, who may just defend his potentially shoddy work, you might try getting a second opinion from a sweep or other qualified individual.
  8. oconnor

    oconnor Minister of Fire

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    So when you use a mirror you can see all the way up the liner to the top? The liner is supposed to be closed at the bottom - if it is open, then the chimney will draw air from around the outside of the liner instead of from within the stove. I have attached a pic from the Selkirk Saf T Liner manual as an example. You will notice that there is a termination cap at the bottom of the liner, either below the appliance tee or inside the cleanout door of the masonry flue. If you didn't have to remove a cap from the base of your liner, then it isn't installed right. Have the installer show you the installation manual and ensure they followed it.

    To sum up, your chimney will draft better when it is only open on one end - the top - instead of being open top and bottom.

    Attached Files:

  9. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    Iv had my TL-300 in 2 different locations so far,one is an 8x8 brick outside chimney about 25 Ft tall the other was an inside brick about 6x7and 25Ft tall . Worked great in both set ups. Im wondering red did the performance change about the same time you changed wood or dont the two things coinside. I think you have an obstruction in the internal airway somewhere. Thats what it sounds like anyway.
    After 2 solid years of burning my stove my after burn chamber is clean and so is the chimney. One thing to note i usually cant get into afterburn with less than a 500-550 Load door temp,but once it starts it can drop to 400 and it wont stall.
  10. redhorse

    redhorse Member

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    As the above poster mentioned, this stove works with a completely open masonry chimney...so I'd think it would work with a liner that is open. But maybe the liner being open on the bottom changes the draft...
  11. redhorse

    redhorse Member

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    The performance was really bad so we went with drier wood; no real difference, other than we can get it up to temp slightly faster.
  12. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    Im convinced its an obstruction internally,for me i would probably be taking out the flue pipe and forcing air from a shop vac backwards through the stove to see if theres anything exiting the intake areas. I do clean the secondary intake holes occasionally with a shop vac,the ones in the bottom of the firedome,the tend to get some ash i them after a few weeks. I think the dealer should be offering more help
    either finding the problem or exchanging the stove, A problem like yours is bad advertisement for a stove company and a dealer. Lots of dealer complaints,my dealers people were also clueless about the stove as well and thats how i ended up on this website.
  13. branchburner

    branchburner Minister of Fire

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    Changes it big time! A completely open masonry chimney does not mean it is open at the bottom - it is still a "closed system" for the most part. If a masonry chimney was open at the bottom, it would perform poorly. Close up your liner system and I bet the stove will work fine.
  14. redhorse

    redhorse Member

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    But the liner is inside the masonry chimney. It appears there is some sort of plate on top, so it should, theoretically, still be a closed system, even if the liner is open at the bottom.

    However, I am going to get someone out here to redo the liner. I didn't like the fact that the yahoos that put in the liner simply butted the stove pipe up against the liner instead of putting in a good connection.
  15. branchburner

    branchburner Minister of Fire

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    Theoretically, but between the top plate and the clean-out door there is a chance some air is getting in unless they are perfectly sealed. Your liner system is definitely open, and if it was closed it could ONLY be pulling air from the stove. Whether the larger system of the entire chimney is open or closed is uncertain, but we can be pretty certain you do not have a vacuum in all that space outside the liner.

    I think if the fire is going out unless the ashpan door is open, that is likely telling you of a system problem; if you close off the smaller liner system within it, the larger system of the chimney becomes a non-issue. I'd suggest BOTH fixing the liner/stovepipe connection AND capping the bottom of the liner.
  16. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    Branchburner may be on to something red ,when the ash door is open it drafts fine, when you close it the draft may be pulling from a less restrictive area as in leaks ,openings in the flue system, you definitely have a draft problem and its either in the stove (unlikely but not impossible) or the flue system (more likely).
    That may be one reason why the dealers are hesitant to commit a lot of resources to these kind of problems where the stove is blamed initially but later its found the flue system is the culprit. But again
    were not ruling out the stove just yet.
  17. redhorse

    redhorse Member

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    Hopefully, we can get the flue system issues resolved this week. But since Harman says this stove needs a minimum draft of 0.03 and the draft was measured at 0.06 (with the bypass close in AB), it makes me wonder. At least we will be able to tell the dealer it's definitely not the chimney.

    I do understand the dealer not wanting to commit tons of resources if it's a flue system problem, but they basically ruled that out after checking the draft. I haven't heard a word from them since. If the stove is that picky about draft, dealers really should inspect the chimney systems to give the owners a heads up if that system will require modification for the stove to work properly if the buyer is paying for installation. IMO, making sure the chimney system is acceptable should be part of the initial inspection/price quote for install; this dealer visits each home and checks everything out to give an accurate price for installation.

    We paid them roughly $500 to do the install (which included delivery, double walled stove pipe to get things up to code, and removing the old stove). It was our understanding that by paying them for the install, things would work when they were done. They never checked the flue system. If we had simply bought the stove and installed it ourselves, I wouldn't be blaming the dealer; but since they did the install for a very hefty charge, one would think they would check everything.
  18. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    All stoves have draft requirements, you have an airflow problem that seems to have developed sometime After you had the stove put in,working correctly for a few weeks at first. If the stove indeed has some airway obstruction,what is it and where did i come from,very unusual situation. Did you ever take the pipe off and check the area below where the flue pipe attaches?IF you close the bypass you can see all around the firedome area in back right to the bottom of the stove. When i first got my stove and did not know how to get it into afterburn and after one night of smoldering i had quite a build up or creosote inside the stove ,and that was with dry wood,i would imagine burning wet wood over a few weeks time without being into reburn for each load could create quite a buildup inside the stove. Just an idea i thought i would throw out there. IS the dealer ignoring your calls?
  19. redhorse

    redhorse Member

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    When the tech was here, he checked for creosote and said he found none inside the stove. He also removed the bricks inside the stove and checked out the firedone. He said everything looked fine.

    The stove never really worked "correctly" -- at least we don't think it did, as it has never heated like it should. However, we thought the original problem was because the wood we were using was closer to 20% in moisture and was too wet (or just the wrong type of wood that didn't have a high BTU content). The tech told me Harman told him they test these stoves in the labs with wood 18-22%; he told me he thought our wood was too dry since Harman told him that range was the best... In fact, he told me to find the wettest wood we had when he came here to check out the stove.

    They are pretty much ignoring our calls now. They tell us "we have to check with Harman and get back to you". However, after we get the flue system upgraded, if we still have a problem, I'll feel much more confident telling them it is a stove issue. If the problem goes away, I'm still going to call them and let them know if they plan to charge that much for installation, they should at least let people if their flue systems need an upgrade before the stove will work properly.
  20. Peter B.

    Peter B. Feeling the Heat

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    Once again, the fact that there's no cap at the bottom of your liner is a <very> likely source of draft related problems.

    I would cap it first thing and try to burn again.

    Peter B.

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  21. redhorse

    redhorse Member

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    I'm hoping the guy coming out tomorrow morning can at least get some sort of temporary cap on the bottom; he may have to pull the entire liner and put in a new one to get the stove pipe correctly connected to the liner, but he can't do that tomorrow. But we'd really like to get the stove going again; it's going to be in the low teens or single digits Tuesday night.

    The conversation I had with the person coming tomorrow was interesting; he said the majority of installations that he sees for oval liners are done incorrectly and he's spent his fair share of time fixing them.
  22. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Even stuffing some insulation down there if the stove can be disconnected would likely do the job.

    This is most definitely a draft problem of sorts. However, we should all be aware that the combustion system in that stove is similar to the Everburn and old Acclaims and Lopi Leyden...that is, a downdraft setup! This type of setup requires a much stronger pull than many other stoves to work well.

    Some if it is in operation also....you have to get a good bed of embers for proper operation.

    Here is a wiki entry related to this combustion system:
    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/wiki/Downdraft_Stove_Operation/

    Measurement of draft will not tell the real story.......it varies so much with wood stove depending on too many variables.
  23. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    Red
    I cant see how your wood could be "too dry" ,i burn wood that is 100 years old and has been drying for that period of time. You said you did not think your stove was heating properly,that would be either a result of wet wood,too little draft or not in reburn.IMO The last place i had my stove there was an open cleanout in the basement which i plugged in order to strengthen the draft through the stove. When working properly this stove will roast you out There are several other guys on hearth,com using this stove with very good results. Im wondering if you have adequate draft until you close the bypass and then you chimney starts pulling from a path of less resistance via your open cleanout.
  24. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    Your link is a very good example of this stoves operation, however i have found the TL-300 i own is not as demanding as described there, i can get it into afterburn in less than an hour from a cold stove and about 15 minutes in the morning if its still warm.
  25. redhorse

    redhorse Member

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    Nice article... and informative! Thanks!
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