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The Hampton HI300 just doesn't seem to be throwing enough heat. What am I doing wrong?????????

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by SherryAnn, Jan 26, 2009.

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  1. burntime

    burntime New Member

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    C'mon hunting season!
    Set your stove to 300, put your thermometer in there, if it reads 300 or there abouts its good. Next, go to the grocery store and buy 2 bundles of wood. Third drink an adult beverage of your choice and burn the wood. Your problem will be solved.

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  2. SherryAnn

    SherryAnn New Member

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    Ah, yes, adult beverages do take the edge off.....the installer called me back, he said he doesn't think he did install a block plate and the liner is not insulated. He is coming back to do both those things. I am praying that we see a huge difference once we have done this. I am suffering from information overload! Thanks to all who took the time to help me figure this out. It's very frustrating to have spent so much money and be getting optimal results.
  3. edthedawg

    edthedawg Minister of Fire

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    Sherry - I think you can rule out a bad thermometer. You're cold. Stove feels cold. Thermometer says stove is cold. I hear ducks quacking...

    I genuinely do consider the wood a suspect. But. I KNOW I have crappy wood, and I still manage to get along. I'll recommend this tho for you - let's rule out the wood. Get yourself some confirmed good fuel. This can come from:

    1 - those grocery store bundles
    2 - a friend or relative who burns wood and has a roasty-toasty house
    3 - finding a good supplement product to add to your fires (I use EcoFirelogs - 1 per reload - and I'm staring at a 500+ fire (soapstone stovetop, the flue is at ~750 gas temp) using barely-seasoned red oak that I chipped ICE off of this weekend.)

    There's lots of ways to get crummy wood to burn hot. You're also finding that there's lots of ways to lose your heat - sounds great that your installer has agreed to come help make things right. After the install, hopefully he will be willing to work w/ you (despite his apparent lack of burning prowess) to ensure you are able to get the stove temps you desire.
  4. SherryAnn

    SherryAnn New Member

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    I said I was done, but I kept at it. We looked at YouTube to find some bits on secondary burn. There were two showing the exact stove we have and we are NOT getting a secondary burn anything like the video shown, and now we know exactly what we should be seeing. Why would we not be seeing a secondary burn? I looked up inside and everything looks fine. The four tubes look fine, and all I can see is what looks like cinder blocks on top. Why no secondary burn?
  5. burntime

    burntime New Member

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    C'mon hunting season!
    If your wood is not seasoned ALL THE WAY then there is moisture in it. THe heat is used to heat the moisture and get it out of the chimney. It also cools the firebox. The first time you get secondary burn you are gonna want to grab the extinguisher...you will know when you have liftoff! :lol:
  6. edthedawg

    edthedawg Minister of Fire

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    if you don't get the fuel and firebox hot enough, you won't get secondary burn. See how "lazy" those secondaries are? you have to get the fire to linger in the firebox. lingering flames = hot fire.

    One explanation is that you are overdrafting - the aforementioned fixes should help that, and if you can somehow find a way to cobble together a flue damper then holy hand-grenade, batman - you'll be burnin' something fierce. (like seriously - watch for overfiring)

    But another explanation - which i'm beginning to agree more with - is your wood. I can't recall - you get hissing or not? you mentioned a little blue flame - that's a classic sign of unseasoned and/or wet oak. unseasoned, wet wood really, really wants you to believe it's dry and seasoned. It does. It'll do everything it can to convince you it's dry and seasoned. it'll clink instead of clunk, it'll check on the ends and turn a nice silvery grey... but... the truth is in the burn. and you may be seeing that.

    the fact that it sounds like you are making big, raging fires that fail to heat the box up - that makes me think the wood is fine, and the stove is just massively overdrafting.

    i can flip-flop on this all night for you... rule out what you can rule out :) i'm hooked now - i need to see how this resolves itself

    (it's like soap operas for engineers... who shot JR? Where did the secondaries go? Why does water bubble out of seasoned wood?)
  7. SherryAnn

    SherryAnn New Member

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    Edthedawg, I didn't know that wood could be deceptive.....we are not getting any hissing. An occasional pop with certain pieces that may have just a small amount of ice on them.This is happening just this week with a load that was just dropped off. It snowed a bit while it was loaded in his truck. We take in three days of wood at a time and stack it all in a holder right next to the fireplace so that any ice that was on it dries off. I asked the installer about a flue damper, and he said it is difficult to do with an insert, and also said he didn't think it was necessary. He is coming on Friday morning to insulate and put in a block plate. (which he said he was pretty sure he didn't do, how could you not know?) We'll assess again after that and see if we're still having problems. The wood we used in the very beginning was VERY dry, we know this since it was in our yard for about three years all stacked in the sun. We covered it long before we got the insert in anticipation. The insert was supposed to be installed on Halloween and wasn't in until Dec 12th. Even with that dry wood we weren't burning that hot. I am trying to get those lazy flames, even with it entirely closed, I still can't get them, the flames move quickly. I will keep you posted, I'll let you know on friday what happened. I am DETERMINED to get this figured out and fixed. This spring we will be building a wood shelter without a doubt!!!!!!!!!
    Why doesn't the picture I downloaded show next to my post like yours?
  8. stejus

    stejus Minister of Fire

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    SherryAnn

    Secondary burns on the HI300 are achievable, you'll get there. Try this during your next load of wood. Let most of the fire burn down until you get a nice bed of hot coals. Rake as many of the coals forward toward the front of the stove. Leave about 1" of ash on the stove floor in the back.

    Take three large splits and lay them on the stove floor in a North/South direction (front to back orientation). Take two more good size splits and lay them on top the the first three splits. Now take smaller splits or small rounds and fill in as may gaps as you can. Your goal is to fill up the stove a much as possible. Don't be afraid to touch the secondary tubes with wood as the wood will shrink during the burn.

    Now, shut the door and run the air wide open for 10 or 15 minutes. You want all the wood to be flaming real hard and you should have charring on all the wood before you start to shut down.

    Shut down in the following stages to get a 10 hour burn. This means there are hot coals left in 10 hours to restart your fire. These are guideline's for a long slow burn. The time between intervals may be more or less with each load of wood. If you shut down too fast, you'll loose flame and you are suffocating the fire. If this happens, start over wide open to get draft moving again. Keep in mind, a slow burn will not generate the most heat, but it will last the longest.

    10 to 15 minutes - wide open
    wait 10 minutes and shut another 1"
    wait 10 minutes and shut another 1"
    wait 10 minutes and shut another 1"
    wait 10 minute shut down completly.

    During the shut down, you should see your stove temp climb to 300-350 and your wood still burning hard. At this point, the secondary burn should be active and the load of wood should be glowing red. If you look up at the tubes, they may be glowing red and you should also see little to large balls of fire moving from the top of the stove towards to glass. Think of smoke lingering in the box and then igniting. If you don't see this by now, this could mean your stove is not getting hot enough to support secondary burns which could be one of the following.

    1. Wood is too wet. (if your wood is dry, it should catch right away and not take long to get totally going).
    2. Too much draft in stove pipe and gases and heat are escaping up the pipe.

    Note: If you want more heat and less duration, keep the air half way open following the same shut down pattern and the wood will burn hotter, but also faster. You should also see the secondary burn doing this.

    Keep us posted.
  9. SherryAnn

    SherryAnn New Member

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    Stejas -The manual said to always leave a bit open when running the fan, do you keep it open? What is a Flex liner?
  10. burntime

    burntime New Member

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    C'mon hunting season!
    Stejus, why go thru all that work. Put the thermometer on the top, when it hits 200 choke it down to your sweet spot. Mine pre insulated liner was closed and then opened and inch or so, with the insulated liner I choke it all the way down. I cleaned the chimney before the season started and checked it 2 weeks ago...still clean.
  11. stejus

    stejus Minister of Fire

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    Do not run blower if you close down completly. You can run blower if you are not totally shut down. The flex liner is the stove pipe that runs from the stove all the way up to the top of the chimney. It's just a flexable liner.
  12. burntime

    burntime New Member

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    C'mon hunting season!
    I do with mine all the time. I have read the manual. Uninsulated I agree, once you insulate the liner you wake the beast!
  13. oconnor

    oconnor Minister of Fire

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    I hear folks talking about using temps to tell them when to adjust the air - how's about using the big window on the front of the stove?

    Bottom line is, you can only adjust the air down until you don't have good combustion - temps are going to lag, so watch the actual flame in the firebox. Keep them bright yellow and full. Use the thermometer like your report card, vice an instruction manual - if you adjust for good flame, the thermometer will eventually tell you that you did a good job, but the flame will show it first.

    There are so many variables - wet wood, draft, house insulation, operator skill, experience with the specific stove - really hard to figure out. Yes, cutting the air down can increase burn time and heat output, but lets walk before we run - lets get the stove to burn hot first.

    So, head towards the light, I mean flame, in the firebox, as your indicator of when to turn the air down. If the flame dies, turn it back up again. As themometer increases, repeat cycle, using flame characteristics as the guide, and warm toes as the reward.
  14. stejus

    stejus Minister of Fire

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    My liner is not insulated yet. I can chock it down all the way, but it takes time (like 45 minutes). Are you saying once I get the liner insulated, I can close it faster?
  15. burntime

    burntime New Member

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    C'mon hunting season!
    That is exactly what I am saying. I don't even open the damper all the way for startup when its 20 degrees or less.
  16. SherryAnn

    SherryAnn New Member

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    [Do not run blower if you close down completly. You can run blower if you are not totally shut down. The flex liner is the stove pipe that runs from the stove all the way up to the top of the chimney. It's just a flexable liner.[/quote]

    Why is flexible better?
  17. edthedawg

    edthedawg Minister of Fire

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    Well I had a whole post put together and then lost it, so here goes my retype... No hissing = good. Your wood seasoning and storage sounds great. Do you maybe have some moisture issues? Probably but I doubt they are the real killer here.

    I read your install manual online (http://www.regency-fire.com/TechDocuments/Manuals/918-240.pdf) - doesn't give a max chimney height. On my Hearthstone, it's 30' max and I'm over. The damper helps immensely - I wouldn't be able to run without it - it's that simple. I would have the same conditions you are reporting: fast, tall, raging, but ultimately COLD fires... Yes it's difficult to install - esp on an insert. But you should see what can be done - I strongly believe this will help you. Perhaps there's a way you could get a small slot/lever or hole/handle added without too much disruption to the look of your stove.

    Two items from the manual that struck me:

    1 - The baffles are two shiplapped pieces. Not only do they need to be resting on the tubes and hard against the back surface of the firebox, you also have to make sure they are slid outward as far as they can go. This seems like an easy one to miss or disrupt during loads! The right side plate should be hard against the right side of the box, and the left plate similarly against the left edge of the box. If you have gaps, then you are getting gases bypassing the baffle and that is definitely a cause for concern!

    2 - for premanufactured chimneys, the manual mandates a full liner, w/ blockoff plate. You probably have a more conventional old-school setup, but on the off-chance this is like what you have, it sounds like the things he is going to add are mandatory and should help immensely.

    And of course, i'm still interested in what might happen if you tried a supplementing product. But again - really feels like your setup and not necessarily your practices...
  18. edthedawg

    edthedawg Minister of Fire

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    Flex is the standard - chimneys routinely have turns or edges or things that the liner needs to run past as it is installed. Plus being flex, it coils up nice for shipping. It'd be tough to ship or install a 30 foot long rigid pipe, doncha think? :)

    Seriously - they do chimneys in rigid sections where they can be held and supported and are exposed. Inside a brick chimney flue? Way cheaper and easier to just drop a flex liner in and forget it...

    http://www.stovesonline.co.uk/lining_a_chimney.html seems to have some good detailed text and pix/figures...
  19. stejus

    stejus Minister of Fire

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    Here are a few pic's of flex liner install... Do you know if your liner looks like this and is all the way up to the top of your chimney? If you look at the top of your chimney, is there a plate that seals off the top and the pipe goes through it?

    Attached Files:

  20. SherryAnn

    SherryAnn New Member

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    I was imagining it to be a bunch of stiff 5 foot pieces that fit together, I don't know why. Okay, I looked up into the stove and this is what I saw, the four tubes are there east to west and there are two pieces on top that fit together in the center like a puzzle actually looks like tetrus, remember that? Do you mean that the two of these should be pushed together as close as possible because it sound like you meant pushed apart....I'm confused.
  21. edthedawg

    edthedawg Minister of Fire

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    Go to your manual (ref: http://www.regency-fire.com/TechDocuments/Manuals/918-240.pdf), turn to page 21, bottom center of the page.

    See the two baffle plates sort of interlock? that's called a shiplap joint. you then want the plates pushed APART so there is no gap around them. they're supposed to allow combustion gases to only go one direction: forward (i.e. towards you). The overlapping shiplap joint prevents any gases from going up the center, so long as the plates are both sitting flush on top of the tubes. If there's a big gap in the middle, then I'd recommend you take some photos and post them for us to look at.

    to quote: "Important: push both baffles [apart] so they are tight against the side walls."

    The shiplap is just there to facilitate installing each plate separately and then rocking them down into place on top of the tubes. On my Heritage, it's a solid plate, just due to the different fireboxes...
  22. stejus

    stejus Minister of Fire

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    Pushed out towards the side walls of the stove. Also, make sure they are pushed back as far as they can go. The objective is to make the three sides (two sides and rear wall) blocked off. You want all the smoke/gases to migrate towards the front of the stove.

    It's pretty neat to watch the flames find there way around the baffle. Look up into the stove when it's really burning well. You will see flames wrap around the baffle in the front and up into the stove flue collar.
  23. SherryAnn

    SherryAnn New Member

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    It's up against both the sides and the back. I have some pretty lazy flames right now, I'm about 2 hours into a full burn. I also just brought my thermometer back to the store I bought it from. She looked at the back and said it was definately broken so I have a new one now. As far as temp vs. watching flames, I think you are both right. I think that once you are good at it, you can observe just flames, but when your a virgin like me, you need the thermometer to verify that you are where you want to be. I just stuck it on when I started typing and it is still only at 250 right now. I have lazy flames, but they are mostly little and blue. So is it my wood? Someone said blue=not seasoned in one of the previous 50 posts! I am going to have to sit down and read these all again. I tried to get a look at my chimney, I can't really see anything from way down here. "Hey kids, hold the ladder so it doesn't slide on the ice." didn't seem smart!
  24. cocey2002

    cocey2002 Member

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    Hey Sherryann, Stuff that sucker full with wood. I always keep an axe by my woodpile to split some wood into smaller pieces. Leave the air wide open for 20-30 minutes. If the fan comes on turn it on low. After 20-30 minutes your wood should be burning great. Try backing the air down an inch or so. I hear a whistle type noise start when I do this. Try getting your temps up to 300-350. Once at 350 back it down another inch or more and turn fan on high. If you can't get these types of temps with this procedure your wood isn't seasoned well enough. If you hit 350 you are really cooking. My LR is 84 degrees as we speak.
  25. edthedawg

    edthedawg Minister of Fire

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    Sherry Ann

    You have a schizophrenic stove here. Sometimes it burns like wildfire and runs thru a full load in under 4 hours. Other times it only gives you little blue flames. And neither condition results in you heating your house.

    This points to Everything. I still think overdraft is your biggest problem, and I'm suspecting you are full-closed on the air control to get those "little blue flames". So at that point, i wonder what happens if you open it back up about an inch?

    I really want to know what happens if you change out the wood - you need to identify items you can rule out. With the conflicting data you keep reporting, you cannot assume anything about your wood, burn practices, or chimney setup.
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