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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. edthedawg

    edthedawg Minister of Fire

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    Cool - much better. Looks like a good gap there - some chiseling and/or drilling would get a rod back there to turn a damper, I think.

    A sweep with no woodburning knowledge, and limited stove installation experience, huh? Go find them yellapages, Sherry Ann...

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  2. pulldownclaw

    pulldownclaw Feeling the Heat

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    Interesting thread, as I have the HI300 as well. One thing I'm also curious about is whether or not Sherry has adjusted her door latch. The manual says that you may need to take out some spacers on the latch after the break in period, I guess the door gasket compressing, etc. I tried to do that to my stove last year in my first year of burning, and I guess I ended up overdoing it, because I snapped my handle off! :grrr: The door was too tight and after forcing it opened and closed too many times the bolt that runs through the handle snapped off. I replaced the handle (Regency was great and sent me one for free), and reverted the door back to its original tightness.

    I do think I may be getting some door leakage leading to overdrafting as well, because when I open my door I get that big rush of air as well. It's actually how I get my fires started. Leave the door cracked, get the flames raging, close the door and leave the primary open all the way for 5 minutes, then start shutting it down.

    One thing that doesn't make sense for Sherry to me is: if she's got an overdraft situation, why does she get this lazy flame situation? Wouldn't all her wood just burn up real fast and go up the flue? I do agree that a blockoff is a must, and she'll actually get some nice warm air coming out from where there's that gap between the stove and the stone work.
  3. edthedawg

    edthedawg Minister of Fire

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    My guess is she's getting the low blue flame only at full-closed airflow. But that's after running open, and progressively closing down - which just heats up the flue in her (overdrafting) case. So with the doors sealing well, that means all the air is now coming in the secondary tubes and going up the flue - missing the wood/fire below. With a full load, I'm kinda surprised that doesn't keep some secondaries going for at least a few minutes, but I'm surmising that the flue draws so hard, the tubes, baffle, and upper firebox just aren't hot enough to sustain secondaries. And maybe by this time, the fire has already started to coal down too low, too.
  4. stejus

    stejus Minister of Fire

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    A simple door gasket test is with a dollar bill. Close the door with a dollar bill half way in the door. If your door is seal good, you should not be able to pull the dollar bill out. If you can pull the dollar out easily, you need to tighten the door.
  5. pulldownclaw

    pulldownclaw Feeling the Heat

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    Yeah, I have to do the dollar bill test again. Did you guys with Hamptons adjust your doors?
  6. stejus

    stejus Minister of Fire

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    Here's a thought? If the stove is drafting too much, couldn't you prove this by loading up the stove and dampering down 1/2 way to see if it takes off? If there's good draft, I think it would take off and by being 1/2 shut, you're not loosing too much up the flue...
  7. stejus

    stejus Minister of Fire

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    I did two weeks after first burn. I took one washer off and it's tight again.
  8. edthedawg

    edthedawg Minister of Fire

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    Yeah it wouldn't shock me if she could get a raging fire going from scratch with the air open only a little - let alone halfway.

    But her only sensitivity seems to be ON/OFF - nothing in between. So if it takes off at all, it seems like all heat up the flue no matter what... I do like the idea of the blockoff plate - and a slab of kaowoll/rockwool insulation on top of it! - back there to keep the blower cavity nice and hot. The cement on top of the chimney may keep the air surrounding the liner from rushing up, but if it's not blocked off, basic fluid and thermodynamics state that the warmest air will still naturally try going up around it anyways - and will find leaks or simply dissipate to the surrounding cold chimney...
  9. oconnor

    oconnor Minister of Fire

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    I know you have all put your best thoughts to this problem - lots of input so far...

    but...

    Overdraft makes no sense to me - when she shuts down the air she is not closing all the air, simply closing the primary air inlet. If she had an overdraft going on, then the secondary air would take over, and the fire would continue, and the temps would rise, not fall and the fire die out. That secondary air won't just rush up the flue - if the fire is hot, then the gasses will ignite due to the increase O2.

    In the end, the fire is not hot.

    A block off plate and insulation will not decrease draft, it will increase draft - so It's not going to cure an overdraft - but again I don't think that is the problem. As well, adding a flue damper will negate the EPA design of the stove, and assumes that overdraft is the issue, which is not the situation SherryAnne is decribing.

    My guess here is still poor draft due to incomplete burn - i.e. the fire is not hot. There could be a mechanical block with the air inlets in the stove (still a draft issue, as for the chimney to suck air thru the stove, the air needs a way in). As I read the manual for that stove, it doesn't sound like they expect you to get much heat in the "low burn setting (air half closed)" as they don't want you to use the blower in that air setting, so I wouldn't worry about turning the air down early - your flue set up may need a lot of heat to maintain good draft that will allow it to burn on secondary air alone, so don't rush.

    SherryAnne - Have you tried my fire lighting technique below? In the end, even if all the convective heat is being lost up the flue because of no block off plate, the surface of the stove should still be getting hot - as in you should feel the heat on your hands when you are running it hot. It wouldn't matter if the unit was outside and it was minus 10*F, the stove would still eventually get hot.

    If you truly want to know, then dry some wood in your kitchen stove - after supper, when the oven is cooling off (about 250F and cooling), stick some small splits in there and leave them for a few hours. Then build up a large "log cabin" of splits and kindling, light it, and once it seems ready to go with the door open, then let the stove run with the door closed and the air wide open. Don't close the air until your thermometer shows the stove heating up. then, close it really slow, as I think your flue needs a lot of heat to maintain draft.

    It may take 2 full loads burning small splits to heat up your flue looks like a massive stone unit, so it will soak up a lot of heat from your liner, and take longer for your liner to heat up and draft properly.

    Do not be in a hurry to turn the air down - when I first installed my unit, it often took 2 loads of fine splits to get the flue warm enough to create enough draft to allow me to load larger splits and turn the air down.

    Here is the fire lighting link - http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/31393/

    If you find that the longer hot fire works, then insulating the liner will help, as the liner won't radiate as much heat into the surrounding brick/stone, so it will get hotter sooner and draft better.

    But a fire that dies when air is closed is the exact opposite of overdraft.
  10. iceman

    iceman Minister of Fire

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    I'MMMMMMMMMMMMM BAAAAAAACCCCCCCCKKKKKK!!!
    i have been away and jsut read most of the thread... does sound like a draft issue... but are you loading wood e/ or n/s east /west or north south?
    but if it is overdraft she should still get a lotta heat when its shut down...... i believe she is losing heat through her chimney, and def needs block off pate with an insulated liner...... this is a very interesting stove....... ask him what size liner he used that could be it and also if you have to much draft you might have to down size as it will be tough to put a damper in
  11. SherryAnn

    SherryAnn New Member

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    Welcome back, I think this is like Doctor's trying to diagnose a very difficult condition, you all are so dedicated to trying to figure this out (I 'd have thought you all would have deemed my problem impossible by now)! My paperwork says I have a 6" stainless steel liner system. I usually stack it in north to south, simply because I can usually cram more in when I can easily see all the available space. Here is another interesting thing.....the right side of the fire box always catches before the left.
  12. SherryAnn

    SherryAnn New Member

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    I knew nothing about the handle, haven't touched it, and don't think I will right yet. I've got to do the dollar test.....just did it and the bill slid right out. The wood does just burn up fast, that's exactly what' s happening. Those blue lazy flames comes only later in the burn cycle when everything is nearly coal. In the beginning it's all pretty fast moving, and before we know it, the wood is burned down quite far.....yet no heat.
  13. SherryAnn

    SherryAnn New Member

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    I will try your method, but tomorrow. At lease I don't have to go out to buy store wood to do that. We'll see...
  14. SherryAnn

    SherryAnn New Member

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    Okay, so now I've started a load, it's going good, I just put the fan on. At what point should I kick the fan on? Seems hotter now that I left it off longer.
  15. pulldownclaw

    pulldownclaw Feeling the Heat

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    I usually just leave the fan on "auto", when it detects the firebox is hot enough, it kicks on. I know that sometimes the snapdisk needs to be bent a little to make sure it contacts the metal of the internal box. If you ever notice your fan not coming on when you think it should, check that out. All you do is pull your blower off and look for a little silver disk, about the size of a quarter, and you can bend it a little bit toward the stove.
  16. maytrix

    maytrix New Member

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    That's what I do to. Man Its getting hot in here.. time for my shorts :)


    Reading this thread, I thought the dollar test was interesting so I decided to try it. My dollar caught on fire. (j/k)
  17. SherryAnn

    SherryAnn New Member

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    I hope I'm in shorts someday!!!!!!!!! Thanks for the laugh, I've burned a lot more than a dollar in mine, I've gone through two chords of wood and only ever raised the temp on the first floor by 2-3 degrees.
  18. maytrix

    maytrix New Member

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    I'm no expert, but if the dollar pulls out of the door in your test, I think the seal is poor. My only current problem is the wood I have is not dry enough. When we had dried wood, the fire would rage with the damper fully closed. I can only get that now with the bio bricks (which I'm not thrilled with - the envi blocks are better!). I do start my fires and let them get going for a few minutes with the door open a crack. Then I close it up and let it run with the damper fully open. Then I close it down once it heats up to a point where its still burning enough to generate heat.. with the 6 month seasoned wood we have, that's fully opened. I can fully close it with the bio bricks.
  19. iceman

    iceman Minister of Fire

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    after going back through the thread again i don't believe you have to much draft... it almost sounds like something may be blocked or clogged your stove is giving off heat if the stones are warm especially with such a large gap in between... but with all this burning how much ash is in the stove.. have you checked where the air comes in? does your window turn black? go outside and look at your chimney, does it have a lotta black stuff at the top of it? is the smoke black/grey/white when your burning? when your door is closed does it move (wiggle) put your therm on top of the stove.. see if it goes higher than 300 its not ideal but just for kicks
    also see if you can feel cold air anywhere near that fireplace opening?
    is your house new? insulated? i thought someone mentioned the opposite but can't remember ..
  20. oconnor

    oconnor Minister of Fire

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    Sherry

    Think of the idea of priming a pump - sometimes you need to pour water into a pump before you can get water out of it - If you drink the water you are supposed to pour into the pump, then you will never get more water from the pump.

    Often, a chimney system is the same way - you need to add heat to it before you can get heat into the room. - if you turn the blower on before the flue is warm, then the flue will draft poorly ( like pump performance if you drink the water instead of priming the pump), and you will get less heat, but if you let the flue warm up (try even an hour before you use the blower as a starting place), then you will get more heat overall, as the system as a whole will be more efficient.

    Work on getting the system hot first. Once you are used to getting the system to burn wood well, then work on using it to heat your house.

    It sounds like you had more luck last night - way to go! Keep it up. Comment above about your dollar bill test and leakage seem valid, as does the idea of insulating the liner (always a good idea, and should be the law in my opinion, but I am Canadian after all, and we like to have governments tell us what to do - not always the same sentiment south of the border ;-P )
  21. stejus

    stejus Minister of Fire

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    Boy this is an active thread. I think you know I have the same stove. Like yours, my liner is not insulated and I have no block off plate. My liner is only 25 feet though.

    What I did do in the interim is stuff some insulation (fiberglass) in the damper opening where the liner passes through. I don't know if this helps much, but I do notice I have a very hot firebox and the stove sides are hot. Before the insulation was added, the stove sides were cool to touch.

    This insulation trick is only temporary because I'm getting the liner insulated in the spring.

    The manual states you should burn fully open every day. What this does is clear out and creosote that may have formed in the previous day. Be careful with this. Do not load the stove fully when burning wide open for an hour.

    Here's my method to getting the liner and stove temp up to draw well after an overnight burn.

    1. Remove ash from up front. Move coals toward center and remove more ash from the sides.
    2. Rake remaining hot coals forward toward door. Leave about an inch of ash in the stove all around.
    3. Add 3 good splits and leave air wide open. Within 10 or 15 minutes, this wood should be firing real hard.
    4. After an hour, I have a stove temp reading of 320 (this morning) and these three splits are still flaming hard and glowing red.
    5. Load it up with wood (stuff it good), let it all fire up nicely so all pieces are charring.
    6. Turn on blower (auto) and start knocking the air down slowly, (the key is slowly) to totally closed in about 30 to 45 minutes. It usually knock it down in four steps. At this point, the stove is at 400 (at least it was when I left).
    7 Turn off blower (you can't use blower in slow burn mode).

    You should start to see the secondary burn starting to kick in when you start to close the air down. If you knock it down and you don't see the secondary burn, open the air back up a little until you get it going again. Then keep trying to knock it down. If you totally fail and don't see any secondary burn, your stove is not getting hot enough so stop shutting down and go the other direction until you get the stove temp above 300.

    Remember, a slow burn will not give you the most heat. If you want more heat, keep the air open about 1/2 way and turn your blower in (auto). You should still see a secondary burn.

    It's a true balancing act and no two wood loads are the same. Once you discover the balancing act, you'll know you succeeded.

    Try this later today and let us know.


    FYI - If you do this, you may see little black flakes around your chimey (outside). This is a sign you have some creosote and you are getting it out of the liner with a good hot (open air) fire.
  22. edthedawg

    edthedawg Minister of Fire

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    I still respectfully disagree with this - she stated numerous times that she gets raging flames and that consume the load in short time. If that raging fire isn't heating the stove, and you're claiming it's not heating the flue... where is it going again??

    The situation is described as 30+' of liner with rapid fuel consumption and minimal heat output to the room, using dry, 2-3 yr seasoned hardwood.

    I'm sorry, but how any of that could be considered poor draft and/or poor wood is beyond me...
  23. pulldownclaw

    pulldownclaw Feeling the Heat

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    It's so hard to diagnose with so many variables, but to me my best guess is that she's losing all of her heat up the chimney without a blockoff plate. That stone chimney looks big, and the stove's surround panels don't fully cover the opening, so all of the heat from the firebox and heat from the rest of the house is probably being sucked right up that big chimney. If she gets a good blockoff plate installed, and possibly isulates the liner, then she'll BENEFIT from that gap and some of that heat will roll out of the chimney into the room.
  24. edthedawg

    edthedawg Minister of Fire

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    I'm definitely in agreement there - blockoff plate FTW!

    But that's not the end of it - I still say she needs to slow that fire down and put more heat to the box instead of the flue.

    The real kicker here is the total inability to measure flue temps. If she is getting 1200ish flue gas temps, that would kinda confirm where all the heat is really going, eh? I wonder how much of the flue is visible w/ the surround off? could an IR therm point back there and get a decent reading??
  25. cocey2002

    cocey2002 Member

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    What I don't understand about this is the manual states that to decrease temps you should shut the air down. Everytime I shut the air down the temps either go down or stay around the same for awhile. Shouldn't she try getting the stove hot first before shutting the air down? She says she never got above 300. I would think that she needs to run it wide open with the fan on low/off until she gets good temps then cut the air back. If she is still not able to get heat at 350+ then something such as a Boff plate or insulated liner is needed.
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