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Suggestions for diverting vent soot from vinyl siding

Post in 'It's a Gas!' started by stripedbass, Mar 21, 2013.

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  1. stripedbass

    stripedbass Member

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    I have a direct vent Vermont Castings heater called Stardance. It uses gas logs.

    Due to a problem it had, it released some soot above the vent outside. I will have the problem fixed.

    However, I was wondering whether I could have a sort of hood placed above the vent so that if the soot problem ever happened again the soot would not go onto the siding.

    I was thinking that if the hood was at an angle, tilting upward, the soot could be diverted away from the siding and soffit.

    I'm including photos (below) so that you can see what I'm talking about.

    Does anyone know whether such a hood exists?

    Where could I go to find out?

    What kind of technician deals with such a job?

    Any feedback will be highly appreciated. I would like to solve this problem once the weather gets warmer.

    Here are the photos:

    http://i647.photobucket.com/albums/uu194/coolstripedbass/IMG_2254_zpsd3c305d0.jpg

    http://i647.photobucket.com/albums/uu194/coolstripedbass/IMG_2253_zpsd766db7a.jpg

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  2. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

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    The soot is PROBABLY coming from the ATF ratio. The air shutter needs to be opened more. More evidence of this condition will be sooty glass & logs. I don't see where a small aluminum diverter will hurt the operation of your unit. You'll need a siding guy (or your local hearthshop) to bend something that can be zipscrewed to the lip on the top of the vinyl siding stand-off...HTH
    Heatsource likes this.
  3. stripedbass

    stripedbass Member

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    Daksy,

    Your suggestions are always good. I have all your notes that you have provided me in the past. As soon as the weather gets a bit warmer I'll try to get this soot issue resolved once and for all. Right now, due to the snow on the ground and cold, it's not convenient to get the technician in and the person who's going to clean the soot from the vinyl siding (I hope it will come off easily). I will let you know how all this goes.

    In the meantime, the reason why I posted is that even if I get the ATF (air to fuel?) ratio fixed, I just want to have a protection for the vinyl siding since this is a condo building. I'm trying to get suggestions beforehand so that I can do this all at once.

    I am VERY interested in your suggestion of a small aluminum diverter. I actually had to look up "zip screws." I had never heard of them! They sound just right for this type of work. Are you saying that the diverter can be screwed right above the vent? If this can divert the soot away from the siding, it would be a great relief for me. I will ask around to see who can make one for me. Maybe the technician himself can do it. But I'm the type of person who likes to have more than one choice, just in case one avenue doesn't come through.

    The other alternative I was thinking is trying to find a vent that can extend out more yet not look weird. If it was round it would be okay. I need to look up DuraVent and see whether this type of vent termination cap comes in other shapes. The cap that I have right now I think would look very strange if it was extended out because it's a square.

    By the way, the reason I avoided going through the roof is that the condo building had had various leak issues in the past. In trying to avoid one problem, another one cropped up. That's life for you.
  4. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

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    The soot will come right off. I've used Rutland "Speedy White" which is a stove (pyroceram) glass cleaner.

    http://ndlhearth.com/speedy-white.html

    Works really good on sooty gas deposits. IIRC that Vinyl Siding shield is 14" wide & the top lip stands out about 3". If you bent up a piece of aluminum that was full width with the first bend at 3" & maybe a 45 degree angle upwards, you'd be good to go. You may have to come out the full depth of the soffet, but being that high up I think aesthetically it wouldn't be a show stopper.
  5. stripedbass

    stripedbass Member

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    Daksy,

    Thank you very much.

    Today, before heading to work (I work from 4:00pm to around midnight) I went to a local Home Depot and found out that they have that Rutland "Speedy White."

    Then I also discovered that they have aluminum sheets at Home Depot which one can cut down.

    But there's also a local HVAC company that will do customary work such as the diverter you suggested.

    I also visited a work shop that welds, shears, cuts and bends metal. They told me they could cut or shape me any piece of metaI want.

    What I will have to determine is whether aluminum is strong enough to keep the 45 degree angle or whether it will gradually drop. Maybe stainless steel will be stronger or is this overkill? Also, someone told me that stainless steel may hold up better because it supposedly does not oxidize.

    So some options are beginning to take shape, thanks to your suggestion.

    I'll let you know how it all pans out. I'll be really glad if I get this whole problem solved.
    .
    DAKSY likes this.
  6. stripedbass

    stripedbass Member

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    Daksy,

    While I wait for the technician to come over (the weather is getting much warmer now), I thought I'd ask you something. Below are two photos of the vent used by my local Starbucks. The store has a gas fireplace that operates with the same logs as mine. But it's much bigger and is designed to look like a fireplace rather than a stove. But like I said, the logs are just like mine. Also, it's most likely made by another company rather than Vermont Castings.

    In any case, my question is whether the vent used by Starbucks can work with my stove. The Starbucks vent is round and sticks out further from the wall, as you can see from the photos below.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
  7. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

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    Hey, stripedbass. That type of cap MAY work, if there's one that will fit your particular brand of Direct Vent (DV). Different brands are NOT compatible, & if you want to use it, you may hafta replace EVERYTHING back to the appliance. Show these pics to your tech, when he shows up. He should be able to research the brand you have & see if there's a compatible round cap. He will hafta get creative in the area where the existing Trapezoidal Cap is located, as there won't be a watertight seal with the round one where it passes thru the thimble... I imagine enough silicone will seal it, but it might look worse than a deflector. I will say, that once the air shutter is correctly positioned, you should NEVER have this issue again...Good Luck!
  8. stripedbass

    stripedbass Member

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    Daksy,

    I really appreciate your feedback. I will show the photos to the technician. This was the best part of your response: "I will say, that once the air shutter is correctly positioned, you should NEVER have this issue again." I will be damned pleased when this issue gets truly resolved!
    DAKSY likes this.
  9. stripedbass

    stripedbass Member

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    I'm finally about to have my soot problem fixed.

    My question is this: I have located a fireplace technician who says he can fix the problem and remove the soot for a starting charge of about $200. He explained that he could charge extra if he needs to order a spare part and make another visit.

    But I've also located a plumber for a starting charge of $125. He too could charge more if he needs to order a spare part and make an additional visit.

    Is it better to go with a fireplace technician or a plumber? I'm told that all plumbers can work with gas but not all of them choose to work with gas. The plumber that I located works with gas and was recommended by a well-known plumbing supply store in my neighborhood.

    I found the fireplace technician on the Internet. He has a two-man fireplace repair company. His website says they "exclusively service gas fireplaces, gas stoves and gas inserts, making them our specialty."

    The advantage to the plumber is that his company is only one town away and he has an answering service. The technician, by his own account when we spoke on the phone, is based much further away and basically operate out of their cell phones.
  10. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

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    You might wanna ask your building inspector. I know that when I worked for a NY-based company, we couldn't run the gas line or the venting in Ma., because ONLY Union Plumbers are licensed to do those tasks. Sounded kinda dumb to me, at least the Venting part, but what do I know?
  11. stripedbass

    stripedbass Member

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    Hi Daksy,

    Back in May I decided to go with a plumber rather than a stove technician. He came, looked at my stove and vent on the outside of the building. He said that he needed $125 for the visit and would return in a week to adjust my stove (and would apply the $125 toward any work he did). He also asked to borrow my heater manual. However, he never returned. I called and left numerous messages with his answering service. To make a long story short, he finally came on Saturday (two days ago) after I threatened to file a complaint with the Massachusetts Board of State Examiners and Gas Fitters (someone gave me this suggestion). He changed my vent so that it now sticks out further from the wall (at no charge). But he did not make any adjustments to the air to fuel ratio. He also cleaned some of the soot that built up on the vinyl siding.

    For the stove itself I plan to get someone who knows Vermont Castings to adjust the fuel to air ratio.

    In the meantime, I just want to show you a photo of how the plumber changed the vent so that soot does not get onto the vinyl siding anymore. What do you think of his solution?

    Last edited: Oct 21, 2013
  12. stripedbass

    stripedbass Member

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    Somehow, the photo did not load up on my previous post. Here's a second attempt. You have to click on the photo to get a bigger view and actually see my vent.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Oct 21, 2013
  13. stripedbass

    stripedbass Member

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    Here's yet another attempt. This time it worked! The full photo came on. As you can tell, I'm not computer savvy.

    IMG_2538.JPG
  14. Heatsource

    Heatsource Minister of Fire

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    that is quite odd.
    never thought to do it that way!
    i'd prefer to tighten up the venting, adjust air-fuel, derate the MB orifice, add a small sheetmetal diverter above the cap, etc.
    i wouldn't let an inspector see it :)
  15. stripedbass

    stripedbass Member

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    A1Stoves.com,

    It's very hard for a layman like me to know what is right in terms of venting and adjusting the stove.

    1) As I said, I'll get someone who knows Vermont Castings stoves to adjust the air to fuel ratio.

    2) What do you mean by "derate the MB orifice"?

    3) Given what the plumber has already done, is adding "a small sheetmetal diverter above the cap" still necessary? The plumber told me that by inserting the pipe onto the vent, soot should not get onto the vinyl siding. Was he right or is it one of things where we have to just sit and wait to see what actually happens in the winter when the heater is on?

    In any case, I really appreciate your feedback.
  16. Heatsource

    Heatsource Minister of Fire

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    2-i mean put a smaller main burner orifice in it- derating the capacity slightly can dramatically reduce sooting- especially in LPG models.

    3a-no, at this point no sheetmetal diverter is needed

    3b-the plumber was right, if he made a good connection, no soot should get on the siding. he was wrong however to modify the UL listed materials. He isn't a test lab or an engineer.
  17. stripedbass

    stripedbass Member

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    A1Stoves.com,

    Thank you very much for your feedback. I'm learning a lot.

    Let me ask you something. My heater is made for propane but has a conversion kit to allow it to use natural gas which is what it uses now.

    When I had this heater installed, I told the installer that it needed a conversion kit. He said no problem, he would supply me with one but I would have to pay (which I did, it was around $80). Later on, after I had the soot problem, I discovered that Vermont Castings no longer made my particular stove and that spare parts for it were also not being made. However, I learned that some online places still had authentic parts for my stove. One company I discovered even had the original conversion kit for my stove.

    My biggest worry has been that the conversion kit that was used by my installer was the wrong one. I say this because I once had a Vermont Castings dealer at my place and he seemed to feel that the kit in my heater was the wrong one. But he was a young dealer and we did not do anything about it at the time.

    My question to you is: How can I confirm whether the conversion kit in my heater is the right one or not? As I said, I know where I can order the right kit. But I do not want to order one, unless I know for sure that the one in my heater is the wrong one. Is there a way of confirming this or do I simply have to order for the correct conversion kit and replace what I have, no matter whether what I already have is the correct kit?
  18. Heatsource

    Heatsource Minister of Fire

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    pull the main burner orifice(s) and compare the size using a orifice bit index to the size listed in the manual.
    you can braise shut the opening and re-drill it if needed :)
    some folks even peen the tip shut with a hammer, but i dont like that method.
  19. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

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    You can also take the orifice to a hearth shop or a gas supply/service company. They have reamer kits that can be used to open the orifice & allow you to swage in a plug that can be re-drilled to the correct ID...
  20. stripedbass

    stripedbass Member

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    A1Stoves.com & Daksy,


    I don't think I understand your orifice suggestions. Keep in mind that I'm a layman and know nothing about heating and venting. Is this a part that I can pull out of my stove and take to a store?

    Anyway, in the meantime, do you think that my newly designed vent will actually keep the soot away from the vinyl siding?
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2013
  21. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

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    Sorry about that. The burner orifice is a small brass fitting that is located in the gas flow, where the fuel enters the burner. It is sized for different fuels or elevations. The hole in the orifice restricts the size of the gas stream entering the burner.
    As long as the the Air-to-Fuel ratio is correct, there shouldn't be any sooting, but there are exceptions.
    The makeshift vent configuration that your plumber came up with may cause additional problems. As Dave pointed out, your unit has not been tested to operate with this design.
    Heatsource likes this.
  22. stripedbass

    stripedbass Member

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    Folks,

    Please bear with me. I know that my heater issue has gone on for quite a while. As I may have mentioned before, my plumber had disappeared on me for 5 months after I had already paid him and he had taken my heater's manual with him.

    He finally returned two weeks ago and did the work on the vent. And I finally got my manual back on Monday.

    I will certainly have the heater itself checked out by a qualified technician.

    However, before I do this, I just wanted to see whether there is anyway of determining that the vent is not working right. I ask this because to me, it seems to be working fine. The problem with Vermont Castings is that they don't seem to have a tech person you can call. Their website simply lists dealers in one's area. They in turn are either very busy or simply frown on anyone who did not buy the heater from them. I bought my heater used.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is is there a way to test whether the work on the vent is okay?
  23. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

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    If there are no issues, say sooting on the siding, on the logs or inside the glass
    & the flames seem to be the right color (blue near the burner with yellow tips),
    then it's probably working right. If the wind blows the pilot out or if the flames start
    to act erratically, then maybe there's an issue.
    Generally speaking, an NFI Certified Gas Tech can teel by looking if it's running right.
    The thing to avoid is having something is out of whack in the middle of the heating season.
    Emergency calls can be expensive. Best to have it looked at BEFORE you really need it...
  24. stripedbass

    stripedbass Member

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    Daksy,

    The flames are just as you describe (blue near the burner with yellow tips). I see no soot anywhere so far.

    The only thing that's come up is that I've twice seen a bird enter the exhaust pipe then fly away. I'll have to figure out whether they make caps that can go onto the pipe ends that can let exhaust out and keep birds out. I know that I can probably use chicken wire with a hose clamp. But would prefer something that looks better. I think the pipe is 4 inches wide (forgot to ask the plumber). When the heater is on no bird will want to build a nest but in the summer it might be another story. I'm going to get a professional washer to come and try to remove the left-over soot from the vinyl siding. I was thinking that that would be the right time to try to cap the pipe.
  25. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

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    I got nothing for that. What diameter is out there 4? 5? 6?
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