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Thoughts on the Olympia Chimney Lining Class

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by smwilliamson, May 19, 2013.

  1. smwilliamson

    smwilliamson Minister of Fire

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    I attended a chimney lining class hosted by Olympia Chimney Supply last Thursday and Friday. All of my certifications are up this summer so now I'm in a scramble to get CEU's for renewal. Yup, I'm guilty too of waiting until the last minute. I will most likely have to retest as I do not think I'll get all of the credits in time.

    The first day was a lecture by Mike Segerstrom, Owner of Bridgewater Chimney Service from New Jersey. He was a great speaker and very knowledgeable. You can tell he takes the trade of chimney work very seriously and I'm sure that he has carved out a very good little business for himself.

    The class had 2 or 3 people in there that also have well established companies and then the rest of the folk were smaller 1 and 2 man operations. It was fun to sit in a class of mostly if not all chimney sweeps.

    I had asked a question to Mike, "When do you feel it is appropriate to insulate a pellet liner?" and his answer was "ALWAYS". Professionally, I do not agree with that statement and went on record saying that.

    There were many conversations that I overheard about unscrupulous chimney sweeps that leave their shop every day with a van full of product and are "required" to come back with it all sold. Basically, selling product to people whether they need it or not.

    So I have to ask, "Is insulating a pellet liner somewhat a kin to selling consumers products that they do not need?"

    It seems to me that in an effort to establish credibility as a sweep, they stand behind and in some cases lobby for, standards and regulations that over shoot any practical cost effectiveness in an effort to make themselves stand out as professional.

    Ah, the guy who installed your liner didn't insulate it...therefore he was a hack.

    I tried to put forward that having an insulated pellet liner was not going to reduce or eliminate creosote whatsoever. If creosote is there...it's not the liner's lack of insulation that did it...it's the stove burning too lean or rich. A simple stove or fuel calibration will correct it.

    I would like to think that CSIA is moving in a direction that accepts pellet stoves and other pellet burning equipment as a here to stay product that needs to be understood more by the folks in charge of installing and maintaining. From the CSIA Professionals I met there...seams like there is long ways to go on that front.

    I did learn a lot about Chimneys. Lot's I didn't fully understand...that is clearer now.

    My take away from this is that perhaps I should be focusing a bit more of my efforts into getting CSIA folks to understand pellet burning.

    What's your opinion?

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  2. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    That kind of begs the question that if pellet liner doesn't always need to be insulated, why do you always use insulated pipe for other installations?

    Just sayin...
  3. DBCOOPER

    DBCOOPER Feeling the Heat

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    Is there a down side to insulating a liner besides cost? Saw an episode of this old house where they insulated a gas insert liner.
  4. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

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    My chimney guy makes a good living sweeping chimneys and Installing liners. Why should he learn pellet stoves, furnaces, wood stoves or any dealer appliance that he does not sell or warranty? In other words, my boiler man will not clean my chimney and my chimney man will not fix or clean my boiler.
  5. papa bears stove

    papa bears stove Member

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    I would say that there may not be enough clarity with the question you ask Scott. If the chimney is a masonry chimney and exposed the the elements outside I would say that the insulated liner would be required. If the liner is to be installed in a chimney in the center of the home, insulating the liner may not be necessary. I believe insualting the liner in any case would definitely improve the draft and get the exhaust to exit the chimney.
  6. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

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    Those chimneys on the end of houses that are built along the outside of the house really do not draft well. However that is not so much of a problem with a pellet stove since they have an 85 CFM exhaust blower.

    However those outside chimneys and chases including the single wall metal chimneys are really very cold in the winter. Wind really cools then down quickly too! This is a real problem even for pellet stoves, because the cold cools off the warm exhaust air inside the chimney! This obviously causes more creasote in wood stove chimneys, but also causes pellet stove venting to clog up much sooner with pellet ash! I have a customer with pellet venting that goes strait thru the wall from the stove and then up 5 feet on the outside of the house. The house is high on a hill and the venting is in the windiest corner of the house. If the venting is not cleaned once a month the stove will stop working! Insulation should have been required, but the manual states to run the vertical rise inside the house where it is warm, not on the outside of the house. The dealer who sold the stove is no longer in business. Regardless, whoever installed the stove should have read the manual!
  7. smwilliamson

    smwilliamson Minister of Fire

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    There are instances where I will insulate a chimney liner for a pellet stove. If the vertical run it higher than 35 feet, I am a proponent of it. If the clay liner inside the flue is broken of deteriorated that to me would also be a candidate. If they have a natural drafting stove then it is a must have and if the stove is reliant upon natural draft for lower settings that is also a candidate....but for EVERY liner? Not so.
  8. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

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    Attached Files:

  9. smwilliamson

    smwilliamson Minister of Fire

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    Their motto is, "Job always done right" .....so, what about that window there?

    From the manual, Not less than 4 feet (1.2 m) below, 4 feet (1.2 m) horizontally from or
    1 foot (3.1 m) above any gravity air inlet (door, window, etc.) which
    flue gases could reenter the dwelling

    I don't see a reduction for outside air.
  10. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

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    The 4 feet goes to 18 inches if there is an OAK installed?
  11. smwilliamson

    smwilliamson Minister of Fire

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    You're not supposed to do that.
  12. smwilliamson

    smwilliamson Minister of Fire

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    I don't think so, not on a montage...I could be wrong, pull it out of the install instructions and cite it by page please.
  13. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

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    If you listen to the video carefully, The Tech states that the Product is an "Insulated Wall thimble" meaning he did not do that himself. So it may be UL approved.
  14. smwilliamson

    smwilliamson Minister of Fire

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    It can be insulated with an air space.
  15. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

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    Yes air works, but then the cold from the outside air convects in easily around the venting pipe.

    It looks like Selkirk uses Roxul rock wool insulation inside the Wall thru which is good to 2150 Deg F. That is why it works well and keeps the inside of the house warmer. What do you think?
  16. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

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    Why not on the montage? Which pellet stove cannot be installed this way and what makes it so different that it is not code?
  17. smwilliamson

    smwilliamson Minister of Fire

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    Only stoves that explicitly state there is a reduction for outside air can take a reduction for outside air. This however, does not override any input from the AHJ if they require the OAK and still want you to be 4 feet away...I have had that happen before too.
  18. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

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    Hi Scott

    What about a special insul-Flue that reduces the clearance down to 2 inches like this?
    Reduces the minimum 18" clearance specified by NFPA standard to 2".
    http://www.woodstove-outlet.com/woodstove/Ocp34000.htm

    My neighbor had a wall closet built next to his boiler's chimney. When he had a new Budarus boiler installed, he pulled a permit. So when the appliance was connected to the chimney it failed inspection. Moving the center chimney over 2 feet or the built-in the wall closet over two feet was not a good option. So he had Z-Flex chimney venting installed to reduce the clearance from 2 feet to 2 inches regardless of what the appliance manual stated and it passed inspection with flying colors!

    When it comes down to it, it is not what the manual states because since the time some of these old manuals are written things change , it is what the local inspector signs off!. Ask Englander why it does not state 18" clearance in their old manual when an OAK is installed. Yes it can be done but updating the manual is a red tape nightmare still in progress! ! !
  19. smwilliamson

    smwilliamson Minister of Fire

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    It's not going to do anything for the single wall pipe coming up from the stove...that still needs to be 18" In that case, just use double wall. Why are you tossing out wood stove components MR Pellet Stove Master?

    All new product requires a new manual. You cannot use the old manual to reflect newer technology. It doesn't work that way. If the 18" clearance is not longer there, it was because they opted to have the test done in a different way. Mike could answer this more technically that I as to why they went that route...
  20. Delta-T

    Delta-T Minister of Fire

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    in order to have reduced clearances to windows and doors 100% of the air used by the unit must come from the outside..in instances where the air wash uses in home air (like when the upper piece of window gasket is not in place to provide airwash) then there can be no reduction in clearances to windows and doors.

    the insulating air space on pellet pipe is not necessarily to maintain combustion gas temps..is to reduce clearances and to provide a measure of safety in case of a fire in the pipe with forced air feeding it.
  21. FyreBug

    FyreBug Minister of Fire

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    Correct me If I'm wrong but for wood burning in the USA are not insulated liners mandatory to meet the zero/zero requirement?

    Is there such a code for pellet liners?

    I sat through a presentation re. liners and one of the reason for insulation is wherever the liner touches the chimney a cold spot develops inside the liner which creates condensation (ie creosote). Would that not apply to pellet liners as well?

    In Canada, there are no codes requiring insulation for liners although some jurisdictions are starting to demand it.
  22. Delta-T

    Delta-T Minister of Fire

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    there is no such "requirement" for pellt units here in the USA. Creosote is the percipitaition of volatile organic compounds in the exhaust stream...basically fuel suspended in water droplets or steam, condensing on the pipe walls...theoretically, because pellets are so dry and the combustion efficiency so high, it should be quite challenging to make creosote under "normal" operation. You'd need to add water, or starve the fire in order to get enough unburnt fuel into the exhaust to get it to accumulate on the pipe walls. Ash accumulation is normal, and I doubt highly that insulating the pipe walls will reduce this much because a key contributor is static electricity caused by the current of air. I would not be surprised to see an insulation requirement anyways, mostly as a money trap. I find it best to completely separate the wood burning theory and the pellet burning theory...aside from the fire part, most of the science has a "distant cousin" type of relationship.
  23. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

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    I was talking about wood stove wall thimbles to show the newer ones are insulated. A good improvement.

    As a better example, here is a new insulated pellet stove thimble from Selkirk! Things are changing for the better, but sometimes it is hard for us to change?
    [​IMG]
  24. FyreBug

    FyreBug Minister of Fire

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    What's your overall thoughts of the quality of the Olympia product?
  25. smwilliamson

    smwilliamson Minister of Fire

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    I love it. Whenever I can specify and use I do. For liners anyway. Their system is truly designed with the installer in mind and it's made very tough. Once in a while I'll have to use a Duravent or worse, Selkirk system and i'm like, "ok, this sucks". Too many trips up and down the ladder and a "kinda tight" fit at best. The jury is still out on the Olympia Ventis pellet venting for me. I really need a bunch of stock to play around with and then I need to do 25 install or so with it to see how well all of the components work together as a system...it's hard to say doing just one or two installs...I need to wait for the very difficult install and have more than enough stock laying around to really "play" with it. That requires a sizable investment for me seeing as though I have 12k of PelletPro sitting around and fully understand how it all works together.

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