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Temp not high possible overdraft

Post in 'Vermont Castings & CDW Dutchwest older Models' started by Phelps001, Dec 9, 2013.

  1. Phelps001

    Phelps001 New Member

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    Hi all new to the forums and recently switched to a made in 81 vermont castings vigilant parlor stove. I have the stove venting out the back 3 feet then into a T hooked to a insulated liner that goes up approx 20feet. It seems to get up to 500-550 and tops out there and can't seem to get it much higher. I have checked for leaks and did not see any. I have a steamer pot that almost boils. My question would be is there a possibility that my draft is to good to suck the heat right out of the firebox and not get the griddle temp up to 650? There is a small crack in the fire back and the wood Is apple wood that has been cut and split for two years now and burned ok in the old insert that was in there
    Thanks
    Harris

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  2. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Well, some basic questions. Are you running the stove in it's downdraft mode after it gets going (damper in the back closed)?

    Does it appear to burn very hot and not spill smoke back when top or front doors are opened?

    That chimney does not sound too high or too strong. Do you have any other wood (other types) which you know to be well seasoned and dry which you can try? A moisture meter is a good investment, although you'd probably know it (wood sizzles, etc.) if the wood was far too wet.

    The theory of having the heat sucked out does not sound like the case...to me!
  3. Phelps001

    Phelps001 New Member

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    Yes I switch it over to downdraft after it gets to 500-550 cause that is where it seems to top out temp wise. Then it drops to around 400ish and will cruise there for a while.
    It appears to have a hot engulfed fire and haven't had no smoke come in the house from the doors or griddle except for when I forgot to open the damper.

    As far as other wood I have a little box elder and ash that should be dry enough to try sometime soon. Now I have the thermometer placed on the left side of the griddle. I will look into getting a moisture meter and a face cord of some other wood to try to see what they will do.
    When I cleaned the chimney after 3weeks of solid burning the creosote was the worst right at the top of the chimney I do live at the top of a hill where it can get really windy if that might affect anything.
    Thanks for your input
  4. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    One way to check for overdraft is to check external stove pipe temps a foot or two away. If the stove pipe is flooring the thermometer, like 800+ F, while the stove is 450, then you may have something there. But the flame path is so long on this stove that it's hard to imagine the heat making it that far without heating the stove up!

    Another quick experiment would be to take a rock - maybe 1/4 the area of the pipe, and place it into the pipe through the damper area - this will choke the draft a small amount and you can see if anything acts differently...

    Another measurement would be to see what the rear of the stove is - somewhere near the flue collar. When you think about the way that stove works, the top shouldn't get very hot unless there is a massive load in the stove and it's closer to the end of the burn. This is because the fresh wood and plenty of air space is on top - and, unlike most other stoves, the flame are not directed against the top. It's the rear and the flue collar area (read of top plate, etc.) which should get hotter, IMHO.
  5. defiant3

    defiant3 Feeling the Heat

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    Maybe check to see that your thermometer is reading accurately? Maybe too obvious, but it has happened.
  6. Kenster

    Kenster Minister of Fire

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    You didn't mention how much wood you are burning at the time you are hitting 500-500 degrees. If you are only burning 3 or 4 smallish splits, that will make a big difference. You may need more wood to hit 700 or so.
    Are you hitting the 500 to 550 with doors closed? Tear drop open? Thermostat flap open all the way? What size (diameter) chimney pipe are you using?

    I get my fire going to a roaring inferno by leaving the right door open about an inch or so. The draft created is like a venturi and really sucks air into the stove to fan those flames. My stove is not totally air tight but I have no problem hitting a 750 griddle temp at which time I close the front door and shift into horizontal burn.

    You might need to keep fiddling with it until you find the sweet spot of good, dry wood; the right amount of wood; and control of your air.
  7. PROOT

    PROOT New Member

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    Kenster
    I now what u mean leaving the rt door open. When you switch to horizontal how do u set the thermostat. This stove is Great.
  8. Kenster

    Kenster Minister of Fire

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    Proot, it depends on how hot the fire already is. If the griddle is showing super hot (650-750) I may put the thermostat to barely open. If the fire is cooler, I may have the thermo wide open. At bed time, I close the thermo to where the flap is just barely closed.
  9. PROOT

    PROOT New Member

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    That is what I do
    I leave the side spring loaded vent open all the time.
  10. Kenster

    Kenster Minister of Fire

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    If you mean the little tear drop/key hole on the left side, that's what most people suggest, just leave it open. If for some reason you need to shut down the fire pretty quickly, you close the thermostat AND the keyhole. I feel very comfortable leaving a low fire going while we go to church or whatever, but I will close the thermo flap and the keyhole and make sure it's in horizontal burn mode.

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