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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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    Harman told the tech if the wood is too dry, it just burns up and doesn't "smolder" to produce the smoke to be burned to create the heat. I can see where if the wood is really dry it may not last as long; but I can't see how that would make it not go into AB. The tech that came out was going to go find wet wood so he could see if Harman was right. I immediately told him about you and how you burn wood from old houses and I was pretty sure that wood was very dry.

    The chimney repairman that came out today said our chimney is a mess. The liner is not insulated; the pipe from the stove does not connect to the liner; the liner has no terminal cap; and it looks like there is no metal plate at the top to keep air from flowing freely around the liner. He's going to give us a quote on putting in a 6" liner (to match the stove), with insulation, all airtight from the stove to the roof. I had hoped he could put some sort of cap on the bottom of the liner or figure out a way to block it somehow so we could at least use the stove for the next couple days, but we didn't have any luck at that.

    So, I guess we'll get to wait a week or two before we see if the stove is going to work once the draft issues are solved. I did learn a ton of info from this post and I want to thank everyone who replied; lots of very good information. I learned a lot about chimneys in a few short days!

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  2. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    Thumbs up to you to being wise enough to look for help when you knew something wasn't right.

    W/ those problems your chimney guy described your issues have become MUCH greater than poor performance, we are talking a lack of safety which can't be fooled around with.

    I have no doubt in my mind that you are going to see a significant difference once this mess is corrected.

    Did a professional install this disaster? Or did you buy the home this way?

    pen
  3. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    Red
    What about craigs suggestion of taking the pipe off at the thimble where it attaches to the chimney and stuffing some insulation down there to block off unwanted airflow from below? Possibly the air is coming in around your liner at the top then traveling down to the bottom and coming back up the flue,thereby reducing draft strength. Sounds like something i would try. If you wait around long enough winter will be over..
  4. branchburner

    branchburner Minister of Fire

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    I could only see this being the case if you were burning something like dry pine 2x4s, which would get the stove top hot but would not provide the needed coal bed. Once I have a good hardwood coal bed, I can burn most anything dry and get the AB to work. If you close the primary air, even dry things will "smolder". I've occasionally done loads with pine cones, walnuts, bags of sawdust, etc. These things I only put in after the AB has already been going with a good load or two of hardwood. It's all about the coal bed. I strongly disagree that there is such a thing as hardwood splits that are "too dry" for this stove. Too wet, yes indeed.

    Sorry to hear you couldn't get a temporary fix, but you should be very happy with your "new stove" once things are in order. A 6" insulated liner is ideal, but I imagine 8" uninsulated could still work if the three major flaws were fixed: top plate, bottom cap, and stove pipe connection.
  5. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    I second that ,Iv never found wood "too dry" to get secondaries,I get secondaries with 2x4 as well they burn hot and faster than hardwood just not as long. Pine is a good fire starter but not as good for an overnighter.
  6. redhorse

    redhorse Member

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    A "professional" installed it this way when they inspected the chimney and found broken tiles. Had I only known about Hearth.com back them... :)
  7. redhorse

    redhorse Member

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    We can't reach it around behind the liner. I may try to stuff something up the clean out door -- we can feel the end of the liner from there.

    It's going to be record lows tonight; our heat pump has the house at 65 right now, but that won't last long if it gets into the single digits. So I think I'll try to do something this afternoon...
  8. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    + 1, too dry of wood will be quite the light show, any one who says the opposite is not a woodburner IMHO.
  9. MishMouse

    MishMouse Minister of Fire

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    I think once you get your issues fixed the stove will perform the way it is expected.
  10. branchburner

    branchburner Minister of Fire

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    broken tiles = get liner insulated
  11. redhorse

    redhorse Member

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    OK, we fashioned a terminal cap for the bottom of the liner. We used aluminum foil with insulation inside and then fashioned a "bubble" (actually looks a lot like a flapper on a toilet), stuffed it up inside and pinched it as well as we could all around the bottom of the liner. We did wire it down just to make sure it didn't sucked up the liner, but it's larger and heavier so should not be an issue. Started a fire and simply could not believe the difference. In about an hour, had it in AB. It's throwing heat like we've never seen before.

    We are both sitting here nice and warm, cursing those who installed the first liner. I have contacted the company and am waiting to see what they say, but I'm not keeping my fingers crossed.
  12. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    I'm glad to hear that you are getting the draft you should. I knew you wouldn't believe the difference.

    I'm having a hard time envisioning what the repair actually was and sure hope it's safe. I'd feel better if you could snap a few pics and share them.

    pen
  13. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    Hindsight is 20-20 but i think i may have been close with one of my last observations which was

    "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."

    Anyway im glad you can start to enjoy your stove with whats left of the winter.
    Regards
  14. redhorse

    redhorse Member

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    I don't think we can get a picture that would show anything since it's inside the chimney. The liner basically comes down within a foot of the clean out door on the outside. We can reach up there and feel the open end of the liner. There was a huge ball of insulation on the inside of the clean out door (the guys who installed the liner put it there to slow down air leakage I guess). I used multiple layers of foil to create a cover for the ball of insulation. Then we stuffed it up onto the liner, making sure we had plenty of material on the outside so it wouldn't get sucked up into the chimney (we also wired it so it can't go up). Basically, the foil ball is about the same size as the chimney but is sitting at the bottom of the liner, sort of like a vacuum cleaner hose sucking up a small football.
  15. redhorse

    redhorse Member

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    Adequate draft was certainly the general consensus... :) But since the tech had come and measured the draft (with the bypass closed) and the meter read 0.06 (and Harman says 0.03 minimum), makes one wonder if Harman should change that minimum...
  16. DanCorcoran

    DanCorcoran Minister of Fire

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    Was he measuring the draft in the stove or in the flue? If it was in the flue, then the draft may have been coming up from the cleanout and not through the stove. (I don't have a bypass or a cleanout, so I can't really picture the different air flow paths).
  17. branchburner

    branchburner Minister of Fire

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    Nice fix, congrats!

    One thing I've learned here, 99.9% of the time a new-stove performance problem lies with the flue (or the wood, or the stove location, or user inexperience) and not with the stove itself. You gotta play the odds.
  18. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    Its hard to believe that much air leaked in around your cleanout door ,most likely some of the air came from around the liner then got sucked down into the open bottom of the liner. Anyway now that your warm and cozy we want to hear about your experiences with the stove since the bad draft days are over.
  19. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    THats was the confusing part cuz .06 is plenty of draft.But in reality your stove was getting no where near .06 continuously. If the draft could be measured after you closed your bypass door JUST above the stove ,it probably fell off to less than .03 at that point as the chimney started drawing air from around the liner.
  20. branchburner

    branchburner Minister of Fire

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    Right, that would happen without a sealed top plate.
  21. redhorse

    redhorse Member

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    So far we really like it. It goes into AB very quickly and it's easy to tell when it's in. I loaded it at 9am this morning at at 7pm it was still 400 degrees and keeping the house toasty. I'm still playing with the blower, trying to figure out when it will stall the AB and when it won't.

    I'm sure air was coming down the chimney and into the bottom of the liner; we had the clean out door sealed (several layers of aluminum foil and duct tape). I can feel a pretty good sized space between the liner and the chimney proper, so plenty of room for air to be pulled down.
  22. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    Im glad its workin good,your poor stove was provably feeling unloved and unappreciated. FIred up my new Englander 30 for the first time today,very different stove in many ways but for the price $669 i think worth every penny. The Tl-300 is still worth what i paid as well and i like the fact that it stands tall The ENg 30 squats low to the floor and if you like to watch the fire like i do ,you have to practically lay on the floor. . ALso you will appreciate the fact that you can load it tight right up to the load door. ENg 30 is a front door only loader and you cant load the box more than half way up. BUt throws a lot of heat like the harman but im sure i wont get the burn times as with the harman. One thing i can say for the Eng is the door glass stays spotless. The harman can get soot in certain air settings.
  23. redhorse

    redhorse Member

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    Trump,

    What kind of burn times are you getting with the Englander?
  24. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    I dont expect to get the 15 hour burn time as with the Harman,as you can only load the firebox up about half way. Plus you really appreciate that top load feature when you have only a front door to load through With the harman you can load it tight to the load door. Ill probably have to make a new fire everyday as im burning mostly pine but at least i dont have to feed it all day as i do with my barrel stoves and the home made oil tank stove.
    Yesterday was first time to burn so still experimenting, if i find hot coals when i go there today ill be surprised.
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