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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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    Unless I misread many of the last 100+ (!) postings wrong, that's exactly what she's tried doing, with no luck. It drafts like a mother, fails to respond to cutting the air back until closed completely (off) and at no point does she get over 300ish.

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  2. cocey2002

    cocey2002 Member

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    If she is running it full and not getting up to 300 then my best guess is the wood. I wish she would go get some wood at Lowes for example and run it with that ultra dry stuff. I don't have a block off plate but do have an insulated liner. Chimney is over 33ft. I have no problems getting to 400.
  3. stejus

    stejus Minister of Fire

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    Could be the wood, but if she's running wide open, even semi aged wood (6 months) will get hot eventually. I know, because that is what I am using right now. I ran out of good stuff and now buring wood that I had purchased green in July and a little dead stuff I pulled out of the woods in November. It takes a little longer to burn off the moisture, but when it does, I reach 400 degrees every time.
  4. SherryAnn

    SherryAnn New Member

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    Just so you all know....I didn't disappear, we had to let the insert cool since he's working on it tomorrow morning. I need to remove all the coal and ash. I will let you know how my first burn goes tomorrow. I do think I was running the fan too soon, I didn't realize that would effect it at all, I just had it on automatic all the time. To be continued...............
  5. stejus

    stejus Minister of Fire

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    Just remember to start off slow with a cold stove. You don't want a raging fire right away... Start with small kindling and when that coals, add a few splits and let that start to coal before you really fill it up.
  6. edthedawg

    edthedawg Minister of Fire

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    That's a great point - don't try to draw too much data from the response of the first fires in a cold, ash-and-coal-free stove w/ new accessories... Do it slow and methodical, get the whole system up to temp - stoves generally always burn best w/ fresh, dry fuel on a well-established coal bed. Cold starts are always gonna be a little quirky...
  7. oconnor

    oconnor Minister of Fire

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    Simply put, all we know is that she isn't warm, and that the stove dies when she closes the air.

    That is definately not an overfire situation, as the stove would not slow down and cool - overfire is by definition the inability to control the fire, and she can shut it off and turn it on with the air. I believe that the BTU being generated by the burning wood are being used up in evaporating the water in the wood or heating the large stone flue or both, and there is not enough left to keep the occupant warm.

    So, Dr House differential Diagnosis time (I love the show, but I think I'm nicer than he is) -

    Symptoms - Subject is cold, and closing the air control causes fire to die - she can shut it off and turn it on with the air.
    Dollar bill test is a near failure - pulls thru, so it may be a leak into the stove.
    Masonary stone flue with full 6" uninsulated liner - large heat sink - takes lots of heat to get it to warm up

    There are only 3 variables for fire - heat, air and fuel - the fire triangle
    Air is composed of exhaust out which draws air into the stove
    Heat is ignition and sustained combustion, of which more heat gives more draft and uses fuel, more draft draws more air and the cycle continues
    Fuel is wood - size, species, moisture, positioning are all factors

    Dying fire when primary air is closed down - means that there is insuficient heat and air to sustain burn - damp fuel will require more air, and will result in fire dying when air is removed. As well, unintended air entry (leaky door) will cause air to enter in places that stove designer did not intend and may not be used well by the stove - secondary air is designed to enter to sustain the offgas products in combustion, and if air is entering around the door, then not as much will enter via the secondary tubes

    Two factors control air - air control rod controls which openings allow how much air into the fire box, and escaping combustion gasses create a negative pressure in the firebox as they leave the flue - AKA draft - changing one changes both, as less air out means less air in, therefore less combustion, and less air out - it increases or decreases until a new balance is achieved, unless it can't sustain combustion, in which case it does out - this is what is happening

    Normally closing the air down reduces the primary air entry, and allows more secondary air injection, while the rate of combustion will still sustain enough draft to keep "sucking" air into the box. Total air into the firebox drops, but enough air enters to allow wood to offgass and sustain a burn. In essence, less total air injected in the right place allows for more combustion and more heat, allowing sustained draft because of better use of air and fuel in the stove.

    Diagnosis - If there is not enough draft compared to the decrase in available air, then the burn deceases too much, then draft drops, and the process comes to a halt.

    Wet wood makes this worse, as water vapour phase change (liguid to steam) receives a lot of btu with minimal increase in temperature (high specific heat), so it essentially "steals" the heat - that means you need more air in to sustain the amount of combustion (heat) needed to keep draft (air) high enough to burn the wet wood (fuel), so you burn wood quickly to maintain enough draft to actually maintain combustion - that doesn't leave enough heat for the occupant to feel warm.

    A cold flue makes this worse, as the heat of combustion will leave the rising gasses until the chimney is up to a stable temp. If the chimney is a large heatsink, then it can take a long time for the chimney temp to reach a stable temp - 2- 3 loads of wood is possible if it is all made from the large stone shown in the stove pics.

    So, it is either - wet wood, inappropriate air entry (Gasket), or a cold flue that takes a large time to warm up - it is a low draft problem

    But in no way is it overdraft - she doesn't have a stove she can't control, but a stove that is over sensitive to control. The small decrease in primary air doesn't allow for sustained temps, so draft drops, and fire goes out. Both damp wood and a cold flue will cause this. The gasket is possible, but not as likely as the other two.

    Does this make sense to anyone else? If not, PM me and maybe we can fix the errors without adding another 100 posts to the confusion.
  8. edthedawg

    edthedawg Minister of Fire

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    I hearya . And you've obviously put a ton of thought into this. And arguing (public or private) ain't gonna solve anything for the damsel in distress, so to speak...

    All I want to point out are these two things:

    1 - she claims the wood doesn't hiss when it burns. She also claims that when she has had wet wood, it has hissed, so I'm willing to trust her understanding of dry vs wet wood. So in my mind, that negates a diagnosis based solely/heavily on wet wood.

    2 - she claims the fire dies down w/ primary full closed, but roars to life the instant she cracks open the door, and that she can hear and feel the air flow trying to suck the door shut. So in my mind, that negates a diagnosis of insufficient draft.

    That's all I'm going on - those details are in the previous posts, and maybe I am misinterpreting their significance... Not gonna debate it further til I see what changes are brought by her installer visiting tomorrow...
  9. iceman

    iceman Minister of Fire

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    i was thinking hard about this i know it sounds crazy.. but throw in all the variables ...about heat loss ... within her setup
    and then what if her wood is rotten????? didn't someone ssay it has sat a long time? we know it sounds dry but .. rotten wood isn't gonna burn long as its almost paper.. then with her current setup she is losing alotta heat regardless



    SHERRY PLEASE TRY SOME DIFFERENT WOOD FROM A STORE .. HD OR LOWES JUST TO SHUT US UP PLEASE:)
  10. oconnor

    oconnor Minister of Fire

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    No debate intended - please don't take my questions as arguing, they are but a quest for good information that makes sense. Negating both draft sufficiency and wood quality doesn't make sense as it leaves only heat in the fire triangle - and the only way to get heat is burning wood, which if the wood is good and draft is good should happen, but it isn't.
  11. SherryAnn

    SherryAnn New Member

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    This is beginning to sound like house......if in the end, this turns out to be a wood problem, I will be absolutely embarrassed, since I am sure it isn't wood. There is something else wrong. Even fully closed, the load burns like hell, totally closed, but there is no darn heat coming out of the stove. Then we get to the point where there is mostly coal and very little fire, what I have explained as the lazy blue flame phase. Then it all turns dark on the outside and barely burns. I think my stove has schizophrenia. When it gets all dark and isn't creating ANY heat, we've been opening it back up to burn down the coal because we end up with too much coal and can't fit any wood, but the coal doesn't burn easily, so we end up waiting so long to burn it down and we have far more cold time that cranking hot time (shouldn't this all coal stage be the hottest phase?), then we start all over again. We have yet to get that slow llazy fire that just lazily peters off in 6 hours or so. We blow through the whole process in 3 hours tops, and remember, the draft is closed 1/2-40mins into the burn. I think there was so much information it all got confusing, but this is the jist of the whole problem in one post.

    Tomorrow is the big day! The stove is so cold and lonely, despite it's poor performance, I already miss it. Cross our fingers and just hope that we have been warming the atmosphere in and around the chimney, and that after tomorrow, we will be all set. I'm going to be one annoyed damsel if not, and then I promise, if that doesn't fix it, I will go buy some of that darn Lowe's wood you all have been suggesting.

    Thanks for the tip on starting slow tomorrow, I'll take it slow!

    So where do you get the little stuff? We'll have it in the future since we live in the woods, but for your first year, where you all getting these rounds your talking about? I'm guessing you all live in the woods too.......next year this will all be perfect.
  12. snowtime

    snowtime Minister of Fire

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    Just a point about those coals. You mentioned that if you wait for them to burn down the stove cools to much. Try this when you have only coals but they are still hot put one good split in the center with the air open. The split will help keep the temp up while the coals burn down.
  13. cocey2002

    cocey2002 Member

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    What I don't understand is that it does seem like her draft is an issue. Closing it all the way down and still burning like hell. She said she did fail the dollar test. With that said even if some of the heat was going up the chimney with a roaring fire as she described the box should still get hot. Just like leaving the door cracked open. The fire roars and gets hot very fast.
  14. wtb1

    wtb1 Member

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    Finally got my thermometer yesterday. Built a fire and finally got the insert to 300 but it took a long time. Never really got over 300 but at that reading I had glowing burn tubes and a good fire going. For the Hampton HI300 where is the best place to put the thermometer for a good reading?
  15. cocey2002

    cocey2002 Member

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    On the shelf above where the air comes out. About 3-4 inches back in the middle.
  16. wtb1

    wtb1 Member

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    So not directly in the middle of the shelf then.
  17. SherryAnn

    SherryAnn New Member

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    Theoretically. One split in my stove makes no heat, even if the rest is full of coal. However, once my situation is fixed I'm sure that will work!
  18. SherryAnn

    SherryAnn New Member

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    Fire will burn my eyelashed right off if I open the door. But there's no darn heat coming out of it. I know,.....doesn't make any sence. Sometimes the best way to get any heat out of it once it was coal was to open the door up. Shouldn't need to do that......
  19. stejus

    stejus Minister of Fire

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    Did this question already get asked? Are you loading the stove to it's fullest capacity in a North/South direction? This stove can fit 3 large splits on the floor, 2 smaller splits on top of them and then some rounds on top of these. You want to stuff it like a turkey. If you are not loading it fully, you will never see the 400/450 degree reading.

    See my small rounds pile. These were scrounged out of my woods. These are perfect for stuffing the voids on top of the splits. If you have a wooded lot, you have rounds!

    Attached Files:

  20. SherryAnn

    SherryAnn New Member

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    I have major envy of your rounds!!!!!!!!!!!!! I do have woods, and A LOT of them. There are 14 open acres behind my house, the owners are elderly and gave us permission to take anything down. YA HOOO! Only problem is it is a lot of pine. Soon as the snow melts, we'll start collecting. Will the snow melt?
  21. stejus

    stejus Minister of Fire

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    Will the snow melt? Not any time soon... maybe by March. Get out there before its too late because the bugs will attack you if you wait too long. Pine is not the best, even if it's dry. They burn too quick and their btu is low compared to oak. Look hard for the fallen oak branches. These make perfect rounds. Collect them, cut them, stack them to dry and you'll be ready for next year.

    This is my first year too, just started to burn on New Years eve. I did a lot of prep work in the early fall because of all the knowledge I've gained on this site! Next season will be even better!
  22. SherryAnn

    SherryAnn New Member

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    Okay, he's just left, this is what happened. He took that top piece off and stuffed some insulation up inside around the liner ( which IS a 6" ss flex) I questioned this, pointing out that on the phone we had discussed a bloke plate, he said he didn't think we needed that. He said he usually puts some insulation in and his helper must have forgotten. I told him about the washers in the latch, he took one out of the top and bottom, then he couldn't close the door, so he put one back in the bottom, so it's just one less on the top. After he left, I did the dollar test, and guess what? That sucker still slide right out. WHAT THE H***! I'm not confident that we are going to have any better luck. He is ordering a new contact piece, the one that tells the fan to come on and off automatically, since it runs all night if we put it on in the evening.
  23. wtb1

    wtb1 Member

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    WHy are you not supposed to run the blower with the primary air closed? I seem to remember that they say not to run the fan unless the primary is open (half-way?). Seems like the purpose of closing down the air is to build up heat in the fire box but I am not supposed to use the blower then?
  24. edthedawg

    edthedawg Minister of Fire

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    Sherry,

    I think it might be time to cut ties w/ your installer. Contact Hampton and find a qualified installer. If this gent IS their "qualified installer" then you need to calmly detail the abundant shortcomings in his approach thus far.

    Insulation around the liner, filling the top of the fireplace opening around the liner isn't a bad start. But if that's all he did....... i'm gonna wonder what changes you see.

    Did you see any place you could maybe run a control rod to turn a damper back there?

    Did you confirm your chimney/liner height better than "about 30' i think"?

    He didn't put any insulation around the liner, inside the chimney, from the sound of things... Exterior chimneys should be insulated due to the cold temps making creosote condensation so easy.

    I wonder where that "contact piece" sits - sounds like a thermal switch of some sort. if it's close to the flue exit, then I'm not surprised it "thinks it's hot" all the time and stays running - I think that's right where all that "singe-your-eyebrows-off" heat is going!

    I'm still worried about you, girl!
  25. cocey2002

    cocey2002 Member

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    The blower will cool down the stove temps. That is what I question. They seem to think that closing the air down past half way will cool the stove.
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