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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. SherryAnn

    SherryAnn New Member

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    I've been doing EXACTLY what your telling me, but I'm blowing through wood at an amazing speed and the house is only 2 degrees warmer than when we started the stove two hours ago. I think our wood is not great, but it's not horrible either. I switched out the thermometer yesterday, I still can't get the stove to 300.

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  2. edthedawg

    edthedawg Minister of Fire

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    Hint: It's not the thermometer. If the thermometer said 700 and you were still shivering, would you assume the thermometer was functioning right??
  3. SherryAnn

    SherryAnn New Member

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    I am leaning toward your overdraft diagnosis. Hot inside and not hot in the house has to be overdraft. We did exactly what everyone has suggested this morning and the flames were still dancing around way too fast at fully closed, then it burn the wood to coal and we get those dancing blue flames which create no heat. Yes, when I am full-closed I get those little blue flames. If I back it up a bit, it gets a bit hotter but blows throught the wood.

    Here's a question I have not asked......should I have a good deal of heat from the stove when it is an hour into a full load WITHOUT the fan on? I don't. I feel almost no warmth without the fan on.

    Another question, if we put in a block plate will that help the overdraft problem or do I need a flue damper? I attached (hopefully) pictures that show the huge gap between teh stove and the opening of the fireplace. Installer cemented the top of the chimney, we do not feel a draft her. Might this be a good place for a flue damper adjustment to com in? Am I thinking correctly?

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  4. SherryAnn

    SherryAnn New Member

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    I had made the same assumption once we got a new one and it did the same thing. What we could understand was why the fire was so hot when we open the door but is not registering on the thermometer. I've got to go get some wood, but that will never happen today due to the snow and three kids home with me. I usually only have the little one.
  5. stejus

    stejus Minister of Fire

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    If you are loading the stove up and can't achieve 300 degrees, I think it comes down to a few possible problems.

    1. Wood is suspect - Do you know what kind of wood it is? If you load the box up with dry OAK (running North/South), you should hit 350 to 400 and it should last longer than two hours before reducing to small coals with the air shut down 1/2 to fully closed.

    2. Cold drafts in house are robbing your heat. Do you have a modern house with good insulation and windows?

    3. External mason chimney pouring cold air down your flue and cooling down your stove.

    4. Too much draft in stove - with the stove air closed down, do you see active flames rising? You really shouldn't see flames rising, it should be more like dancing flames (secondary burn) moving around in the box.

    5. Is your brick hearth above the stove getting hot? If I load mine up and get to 350/400, the bricks above the stove get real hot and throw off heat too.

    You will only start throwing beneficial heat once you get into the 350/400 degree range. I think you said your installer is coming on Friday. Maybe you can review your procedure with him and see if he can point something out.

    I should also mention preparing for next year. Don't wait until spring or summer to get your wood for next years burning season. It's best to be 1 year ahead with you wood supply. Here's the reason. If you season the wood yourself, you know it's aged properly. If you buy seasoned wood, you pay more and you really don't know if it's been properly seasoned.

    Hang in there, sooner or later you'll find the problem...
  6. stejus

    stejus Minister of Fire

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    If I load up and start shutting down, within 15 to 30 minutes, depending on how many coals before reload, I can't stand next to stove because it's thowing too much heat. Once you get to 350/400 degrees the glass is so hot you can't stand too close. You'll know what I am talking about once you get to these readings.

    A block off plate will not control your draft, it keeps heat in your firebox as opposed to running up your chimney. It also keeps the surrounding external areas of the stove hot so it doesn't cool the stove down.
  7. wtb1

    wtb1 Member

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    Quick question here as it pertains to the subject. What exactly is a block off plate? I do not believe my installer put one in. How do I tell if there is one and if not can one be installed after the insert has been installed?

    I have the Hampton i300 as well..
  8. stejus

    stejus Minister of Fire

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    Take off your surround and look up inside your firebox. If it looks like this (open area around flex pipe), you don't have a block off plate. A blockoff plate seals off the area where your fireplace damper once was. Do a search on blockoff plate and you'll see several examples. Yes, it can be done after the install. The installer will have to remove the stove and get inside your firebox, then reconnect stove to pipe.

    I should also mention it sounds like you do not have an insulated pipe? I don't and my sweep will be coming back in the spring to install a block off plate and pour in some form of insulation material from the top of the chimney. He said he can install the blockoff plate just below the first tile above the smoke shelf from the outside. He told me it's easier for him to do it this way and I'll never know he removed and re-installed some exterior brick.

    Attached Files:

  9. SherryAnn

    SherryAnn New Member

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    The wood is oak. The man who sold it to me burns it in an insert in his own home, he came inside, looked at my burning, and thought something was up since it wasn't that warm in my house and that when I shut it down all the way there was still a good deal of draft. He said his give much more heat.

    #4 is again the one that seems like the problem. We are still seeing active flames rising when fully closed down.

    #5 the stones are WARM, not hot. When we have the blower off, again, there is barely no heat. We imagined that the rocks would be hot and they are not. We have no radiant heat effect.

    Our house was built in 1987. We have very large windows, but they are double paned anderson windows. There seems to be insulation in all walls.

    You are seeing me through to the end with this, I really appreciate it. My installer doesn't burn wood, so the more information I can supply him with, the better.
  10. SherryAnn

    SherryAnn New Member

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    How is yours functioning? Are you having any of the issues I am having. DO YOU FEEL MY PAIN???? Not that misery like company.....
  11. _KMG

    _KMG New Member

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    is it just me, or is that thermometer stuck to the surround in the picture? I could be looking at it wrong, but if you have the thermometer on the surround, please try moving it either to the loading door, or on the center of the top shelf - the area where you could set a kettle. The surround wont give you the correct temperature.

    edit: after looking closer, it looks like it is on the shelf, my bad.
  12. stejus

    stejus Minister of Fire

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    I may be wrong, but does the ceramic coating give the same temp reading as cast iron? Anyone else with a HI300 Timberline? Mine is Black Metallic so I can't be sure you'll get the same reading.
  13. cocey2002

    cocey2002 Member

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    You won't get the same heat as from a freestanding stove. If you are used to a stove an insert is a different beast. They both do well but like you say without the blower on the insert is useless. Inserts rely on blowers to spread the heat.
  14. stejus

    stejus Minister of Fire

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    I agree, but still the same, with an insert fired up to around 400/450 degrees (external reading), you will not be able to stand too close to the doors as heat will be hitting you in the face and this is without the blower on. The HI300 sits out about 8" from the firebox so the glass, mantle and side cast pieces all get extremely hot too.
  15. edthedawg

    edthedawg Minister of Fire

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    Folks - the thermometer is the least of the worries here. Where it is, what it's reading - all irrelevant. The lady ain't warm. Period.

    If any setting open on the primary makes raging flames (but no heat felt) and closing it full makes those flames drop to zilch (and still no heat felt) it all points to over-draft.

    Sherry Ann - here's something to try. When you get to "little blue flame with primary closed" stage - what happens if you crack open the front door? Do you get a lot of suction against it? Feel/hear air rushing into the fire? Flames rage up?

    If you answer YES to those questions, you just might have an overdrafting stove.

    You are running 30 feet of un-insulated 6" SS liner in an un-blocked-off, exterior chimney. Your installer has done everything possible to make that sucker a draft-producing machine.

    Add a blockoff plate. Insulate the liner. Find some way to add a flue damper.... ALL of those things are ways to REDUCE your draft, KEEP the heat inside the stove longer, and thereby INCREASE the heat you feel.
  16. SherryAnn

    SherryAnn New Member

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    It's on the shelf, but thanks for the suggestion!
  17. SherryAnn

    SherryAnn New Member

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    Hmmmmm....that's a thought. I obviously can't answer that. Isn't it cast iron under the paint? I wouldn't think it would matter.
  18. wtb1

    wtb1 Member

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    I get some heat out of the stove. I have a thermometer on the way and once I get it and I have a fire going I will be able to check temps and such.

    I am pretty sure I have no block off plate and the installer put some insulation around the top of the liner but the rest is uninsulated I am afraid. I am wondering if I suffer from over drafting as well. How hard is it to insulate the liner once it is in place? Is it something I can do myself?

    Not sure I can get a block off plate installed easily. I like in Mississippi and we do not have an overabundance of installers here. I bought my insert from a dealer three hours away.
  19. SherryAnn

    SherryAnn New Member

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    Okay, he told me he wouldn't add a flue damper. Did you see the post earlier today of the pictures of the hole between the insert and fireplace? It seem like there is plenty of space to get a little hangle out that gaping hole. I did mention that he cemented at the top of the chimney to, just to give him SOME credit. I have decided that installers should have burned at some point so they are better able to troubleshoot.

    Here's another question, he charged 1000 for installation and materials. Think he's going to ask for more? Is he justified? How much?
  20. edthedawg

    edthedawg Minister of Fire

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    Typically insulation is either pre-wrapped around the liner or is a fluffy vermiculite product that is dumped down into the space between the liner and masonry. If you have no blockoff plate, it just dumps onto the stove which is no good. Assuming you can pull your liner out ever, and one would think you'd need to for cleaning the flue occasionally, then yes - you can install a blockoff plate.

    Are you sweeping yourself? or hiring a sweep? if the latter - talk to him about the metal work. It's a pretty basic piece of sheetmetal fab work, you can do it yourself w/ the right basic tools.
  21. SherryAnn

    SherryAnn New Member

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    Sounds like you and I are in the same boat. GOOD LUCK, my installer is coming on Friday, if you hang on unitl my problem is solved, maybe yours will be as well...
  22. edthedawg

    edthedawg Minister of Fire

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    Yes w/ the gap shown (your pic was really small - if you could post a larger one it would sure help) I think someone w/ some experience could make a damper w/ a long arm that would work. THAT would cost you, no doubt. I would not like the thought of paying more than $200 more for the insulation and blockoff plate fab/install work. Could you try to pin him down to do the work for free? I guess but I have a thing about karma w/ my contractors... You probably need to talk it over ahead of time, or you risk one or both of you having quite a surprise.

    That said, my installer flat out REFUSED to take a penny more from me when he came back to install my damper. And he cost me a hell of a lot less than $1000. Every installer is different. I said in a different post that you may well need to break ties w/ your guy here and find someone more experienced to undo his errors, if he's unwilling or just plain incapable of doing it himself.

    If you are near the NE CT border, my guy may travel that far. he does stone work and sheetmetal work - he could definitely fabricate a long arm to drive a damper for you w/ that setup.
  23. SherryAnn

    SherryAnn New Member

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    [quote author="Edthedawg" date="1233180844

    Yes w/ the gap shown (your pic was really small - if you could post a larger one it would sure help) I think someone w/ some experience could make a damper w/ a long arm that would work. THAT would cost you, no doubt. I would not like the thought of paying more than $200 more for the insulation and blockoff plate fab/install work. Could you try to pin him down to do the work for free? I guess but I have a thing about karma w/ my contractors... You probably need to talk it over ahead of time, or you risk one or both of you having quite a surprise.

    That said, my installer flat out REFUSED to take a penny more from me when he came back to install my damper. And he cost me a hell of a lot less than $1000. Every installer is different. I said in a different post that you may well need to break ties w/ your guy here and find someone more experienced to undo his errors, if he's unwilling or just plain incapable of doing it himself.

    If you are near the NE CT border, my guy may travel that far. he does stone work and sheetmetal work - he could definitely fabricate a long arm to drive a damper for you w/ that setup.[/quote]

    I did open the door, it does create a RAGING fire when I do that .

    The picture is small on post #53? There are two pictures of just the top of the stove and my son's hand sticking in the hole. On my computer they are at least 3 x 3, I didn't mean the tiny one on the left of my posts.

    I live in West Kingston. I can get to 95 very quickly but that takes you to SE CT. I think I should let him try to fix what he can, block plate and insulation, especially since I clearly paid through the nose. However, if I want to put in a flue damper, I might consider your installer for that. I don't want to break ties yet because I paid so much! I am considering contacting the reginal rep from Hampton, he lives fairly close. He should know what is going on........
    If I crack the door, the fire does rage up tremendously. Now we are getting somewhere.
  24. edthedawg

    edthedawg Minister of Fire

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    3x3 is tiny. Your pixel size is what you should go by. Post up to 640x480, I believe.

    Bingo - you're overdrafting. The good news is this confirms you have tight door seals, and a very good functioning primary control.

    I really hope the plate and insulation help - but it really wouldn't hurt to presume they won't, and start getting the wheels in motion NOW to add a flue damper. Talk to chimney sweeps in the phone book, if you're at ground-zero w/ your installer - I assume he doesn't know anything about sweeping if he doesn't burn himself. I doubt the Hampton rep is going to have much to say, either.

    I will add this: if it was NOT recommended or allowed, they'd say so in the manual. The fact that it's an insert makes it generally impossible to easily add one, so I'm not surprised they avoid the topic altogether. But you have unique circumstances here w/ good access and an exceptionally tall chimney, it sounds... Worst case is you install it and running with it full open is like it's not there.

    And finally, back to your air control - you have essentially an ON/OFF lever now, right? I had the same thing w/ my 30+ ft liner on my Heritage. Until I added the damper. Now I have actual adjustment sensitivity from the primary - it's a beautiful thing.

    Keep the posts comin'!
  25. SherryAnn

    SherryAnn New Member

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    I'm so glad you mentioned that the seal on the door is okay, the installer said that might have been a possible problem. I feel better knowing what the problem is. Now I know we aren't crazy, I didn't think it was all wood. My installer IS a chimney sweep. That's mostly what he does! Bet you wouldn't have guessed that! Are the pictures better? I had chosen blog size, I need email size.

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