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Top 3 tips learned

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by adrpga498, Jan 23, 2006.

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  1. adrpga498

    adrpga498 Minister of Fire

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    Just wondering what are your top 3 tips you learned from this site .
    Mine are:
    1. Top down burn. (starting batch fires)
    2. Raking coals to front of the firebox prior to reload. Keeps glass clean and creates instant startup of the new load.
    3. Keep checking the forum daily:)

    Maybe Craig could start a tip of the month club.

    1st tip, don't drink & drive......use a 3 wood.

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  2. vgrund

    vgrund Feeling the Heat

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    This comes to mind: Don't listen to silly dealers who say a liner is not necessary for a pellet stove (thanks Elk).
  3. HarryBack

    HarryBack New Member

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    ok, here i go again......out on a limb.....a liner isnt ALWAYS necessary for a pellet stove....check the silly dealer box for me, i guess
  4. vgrund

    vgrund Feeling the Heat

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    Oh no, here we go!
  5. hearthtools

    hearthtools Moderator Emeritus

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    I liner is not needed if you like
    Water to get down the chemney and follow what little bit into your stove and fry it.

    if you like Fly ash to get into your house.

    If you like smoke to back up into your stove when the power goes out.

    and if you have a mistical way of getting the soot out of the smoke shelf without pulling the insert.

    Sorry Harry just had to poke fun.
  6. HarryBack

    HarryBack New Member

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    assuming, of course, hearthtools, that we are speaking of an INSERT.........ive seen one or two ;-P freestanding stove to masonry thinble installations as well.
  7. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

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    Liner is not always needed. I do recommend them but I've seen several stoves vented into 6 and 8" class A that worked perfectly without a hitch. I've also seen a few inserts installed with block off plate and 5' of liner that work well. I know it's not the optimal way to go about things but in realty sometimes it does work.
  8. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy New Member

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    I usually install a pellet heater with a 5 foot stub in the fireplace chimney, with a throat piece sealing the damper section. I also usualy cut a trap door in the throat piece to get a shop vac in there for future cleaning. At altitude, i always go all the way up.
    Ryan
  9. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    I guess you didn't understand the double negatives there!
  10. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Heck it would work to pop it out the window and stuff some insulation around it......

    Correct me if I am wrong, but don't Pellet Stoves fall under similar rules as other solid fuel - at least to the extent that you cannot by code install them into a chimney with 10X the size!

    Even if it is a gray area, installing a little pipe into a cold and big exterior masonry chimney is asking for trouble in my opinion. These chimneys often reverse constantly when not in use....and it takes more than a 3" pipe to start them up sometimes!

    I agree that venting them into insulated chimneys can be OK as I have done this with good results.

    For the low price of 3 and 4" liner, I can't see why anyone would want to rip a whole installation apart each time they want to do a good cleaning...and take the chance on poor draft, condensation, etc. etc.
  11. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy New Member

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    I have had very few problems with the stub in method, since pellet stoves exaust works under pressure, i have never had a draft issue with dumping it into a masonry chimney. I have had issues with lack of back pressure above 7000'. But never in the mile high range. BUT, as stated earlier its much easier to clean with the liner all the way up, but you still have to sometime pull the insert to get the flue off for cleaning, unless you sweep the ash in the stove. Like i said earlier, i have been taking a 3.5" hole saw and cutting a hole in the throat piece, and getting a 4" mending plate to cover it. I screw the two together and then i have a access point for cleaning the smoke shelf.
  12. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

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    I agree about the uninsulated masonry chimneys. I do not think it's a good idea or ever do it in reality. In 2002 we took over the Whitfield line from another place in town along with many of their customers. That's when I started running into the inserts installed like this. The thing is they worked, how or why I don't know but the majority of the customers had no complaints. I've relined 3 of them but the rest seem to be satisfied. I hate cleaning them all that fly ash just collects on the block off plate. I cleaned one that had 7-8" of fly ash on it, it took forever. And yes most masonry flues are too large but in the owners manual for these stoves it does not make any mention of this. But funny enough it does allow the "block off plate" to be mineral wool insulation.
  13. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    I guess none of you have had the code book out recently? Do you know The NFPA 211 Revised codes dealing with solid fuel burning appliances cross-sectional code? 2003 has revised existing code. That appliance flue collar cross- sectional areas con now be vented into a masonry flue up to 2 times their crosectional area into an exposed chimney. Which means no 6" solid fuel burning appliance or smaller, may direct connected in a 12/8 masonery flue. They all must be fully lined. On an interior Chimney the 3 times cross-sectional area is permitted an 8/12 can be direct connected. Appliances with 8" collars may be direct vented in an 8/12 and posibly 12/12.
    Again NFPA defines requirements of a block off damper area shall be of ridged non combustiable material for the block off plate.
    How ridgid are those insulation bats? What about code requiring preventing dillusion of room air. How is that accomplished with a batt, How do you prevent it from shifting? condensation collecting and ash and cresote causing it to buckle. Tell me once it sags how well it prevent dillusion of room air? Did you also know a current code book is required on premis every job?
  14. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

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    Hey I'm just stating what the owners manual says. Like I said I do not practice these methods but in some jurisdictions they would be accepted. I would imagine that our local AHJ would allow this as it is in accordance with manufacturers instruction and that often trumps NFPA or in our case International Mechanical Code as my local AHJ does not recognize NFPA211. In your jurisdiction it wouldn't be acceptable as you seem to lean more toward NFPA211 in situations like the ones discussed here (and rightfully so).
  15. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

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    Don't the new NFPA revisions also allow for downsizing of wood stove flues with manufacturer approval? I haven't read the actual code yet I remember reading about the revisions in Alternative Energy Retailer though.
  16. HarryBack

    HarryBack New Member

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    The code officials in my area seem to go by manufacturers recommendations.....so they open the owners manual, and inspect from there.....maybe not the way its done throughout the rest of the country.
  17. Mike Wilson

    Mike Wilson New Member

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  18. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    The installation manual will reference the code it was tested for such as NFPA 211 IBC Mechanical codes ect
    For instance a cut and paste from a Qudra Fire manual "

    ) For further information refer to NFPA 211 (USA) or CAN/CSA-B365 (Canada).

    Once the manual list the tested to standard or compliance to, it call that code in to be considered for Inpsections
    and compliance. What has happened these model runs refference NFPA 211 but the tested models and manuals are
    years behind. They have not been updated by the manufacturer to reflect the newer code revisions. Most of the manuals are
    printed using 2000 or 2002 NFPA model base codes. 2003 has major revisions. You are right sometimes a stove can work in an 8/12 but look at the forum how many times is one not getting their stove opperating properly? Poor draft The Consumer Products Safety Council has statistics that point that direct connect stoves in masonry chimnies have a greater frequency of chimney fires,
    Than those that are ss lined also more property damage resulted. This is part of the reason for the revisions
    Repeating once the manufacture references a code that code can be applied for permitting inspections and installations Be it NFPA or
    The international Mechanical codes BTW I also have the 2003 Mechanical code here. Actually the manufactures manuals are in error being outdated, not up to current existing code. The very code they refference compliance to. So if they do not comply is some areas, then it is possible the whole listing is non compliant. AT THAT POINT TILL THEY update them it is up to the disgression of the individual inspectors to apply codes to that installation. Inspectors can apply the most restrictive code and code (read your Mechanical code you will see this language in the administration section) including stricter interpetations than the manufacture listings.

    Here is what I did I faxed a memo to all the local installers and retailers With the new code revisions. I stated how I would enforce them. Every permit leaves my office signed that they are aware of the revisions.
    I gave the installers and retailers 3 months to take care of their current orders and installation. I stated a date on that application where the cut off line will occure, say Sept 4. All installations after that permit issue date shall comply.
    Like in your town and with your competition, he would be governed by the same codes for installations in my jusisdiction.
    From what you have told me he would probably be out of business, if your local code officials were like myself. Or at least the playing field would be leveled. He would not be getting away with faulty gas stove instalations that blow up homes..

    The reduction of flues you might have read about is dealing with corrugated liners. NFPA code has language that the friction caused by corrugation reduces the capacities of that liner up to 20%. Therfore that is a reduction and does not comply.
    Realizing a full liner is a better application discussion has taken place about this issue, yet none have been printed in code

    I said this before, if the manufacturer test and list the flue reduction, usually I will accept that. VC even makes a reduced flue adaptorfor the Encore. Another point Manufactures Specs do not trump the inspector, when it is his signature you need for compliance and getting paid
  19. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

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    "Another point Manufactures Specs do not trump the inspector, when it is his signature you need for compliance and getting paid"

    Oh so true that statement is. I wish that you were the inspector here because while you are stringent you are fair and consistent that I could live with. I too think that the mos I will try to dig up the Article or look at the new revision of NFPA I could swear there was language in there that allowed for flue collar reduction (not the corrugated liner part) but for the situation exactly like you explained for the Encore. It was actually talking about overdrafting appliances. As for application of the most restrictive code I can see your point there and I do know that inspectors can apply whatever code they see fit. Consistency is the key here. For instance they tell me "go by manufacturers instruction" So I find a gas insert installed in a ZC the side wall was cut out to allow access for the gas line. I'm talking a 12"x12" hole in the side wall of this fireplace. Manufacturers instruction clearly states two things the fireplace must be in operating order and that the gas line access hole can be no larger than 1.5". Both of these instructions clearly were violated. Not to mention that he had the yellow gas pipe resting on the sharp sheet metal edge of his hole and it was already starting to "cut" through. Point being this was a real estate inspection. I of course "failed" it. Now comes the city inspector. "i don't see anything wrong with that" refusing to read the manual. I appealed his decision took the page from the owners manual and a fax from the company tech dept. stating that this install is not at all in compliance with manufacturers instruction to the board. Guess what they did? They said well surely there is more language in that book that will give this unit a set clearance to combustibles. No there is not. So they went to IMC and assigned a 6" clearance to combustibles to this insert and let him get away with it. They did issue a letter calling the workmanship shoddy and said they felt that the sheet metal should be "repaired" talk about good ol' boy network though.
  20. hearthtools

    hearthtools Moderator Emeritus

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    Our county goes by UMC and not NFPA211 I wish they did.

    But i say do it right the first time.

    Call me an over kill but I dont what call backs for something dumb.
    so I DO NOT Half a$$ line any chimney WOOD OR PELLET

    I WILL NOT direct vent a pellet stove.
    If I loos a sale because of it fine, I know I will be back soon to reinstall the pipe that the valley dealer installed because the side of the house is black, Deck is black and smoke keeps coming in the house from a direcect vent stub out right next to a window or door.

    I will do the 5 feet up and a 90 + 6" plus cap if that is the only way it can be done as long as im away from windows.

    I might loose a few wood insert sales because I will not slam a wood stove in. Full insulated reline or not at all.
    Im kind of safe on no looseing most sales because the other Local dealer has the same policy. but the valley dealers or the self installers are another story.
  21. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I've learned a lot about chimneys and more about codes than I really want to know. It's also nice to know that I'm not the only wood weirdo out there.
  22. babalu87

    babalu87 New Member

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    ^
    1: I learned from Eric that if I sharpen my chain after every tank cutting wood is alot more enjoyable even if it is that kiln dried dead Red Oak I find on my property :)
    Oh, and it is ALOT easier to sharpen a semi-sharp chain than it is to trying to bring one back that is dull as a hoe

    2: Learned that even if I can get Elm for free to turn and run at a high rate of speed ;)

    3: Everything I was ever told about Pine is rubbish, all wood has creosote "in" it

    4: A fan at the top of the stairs blowing DOWN from the floor works wonders in a Cape
  23. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Ok I admit to a bit of soapbox preaching. I did it to spur this type of discussion and also present recent code revisions, that are going to make it into the next Mechanical codes.
    Lets face it, the VC Aspen is going to have a hard time generating enough heat, to vent into an out side fireplace size chimney. A 55k plus BTU stove will have an easier time.
    Possible language could allow reduction in flue requirements, if positive test results prove they work efficiently. Similar situations are part of the code now. For instance, a pressure test on gas lines, where the line is charged and metered and inspected before approval. I require all Forced hot water systems to be pressure tested during rough inspections. There is language in codes that permit me to make that request. Similar language exist and can be applied to draft test. Up till a month ago I had a draft tester, which got lost in the mail. I only had to use it a few times to check oil burners, to let the installers know I had one and checked their tested results. Once they know I could validate or check results the whole testing process got a lot more accurate.. Burners were getting fine-tuned. Masonry Chimney construction improved using an angled extending Dental type mirror. I found too many voids and possible fire hazards. The mason TOOK NOTE, now I never find any. With the use of the mirror and a bore scope, I have uncovered too many incomplete installs or poor installs . One incident a liner was missing the middle 10’. Another incident on an insert the 90degree adjustable elbow got severed at the seam once the insert was pushed into place. I would not accept blanket insulation as a permanent solution to a damper block off . After a while the installer learned how I checked installations and fewer and fewer failures occurred. That with the owners holding final payment till the install passed inspection, forced better quality of work the first time. I do not leave my truck to fail an inspection I look to pass it.
    Shane is right the best approach is to be consistent. Give a reason for failure. Also give credit to a job well done. Another thing I do, is if I find something I am not happy with, I call the retailer of installer and discuss it with them first. Why get the homeowner in a tizzy or involved if it can get resolved without them.

    A good working relationship has evolved amongst the local retailers and installers and I as the inspector. I have gotten the ones that do good honest installs additional work. I have a list of installers who have worked in the town before. I position the list as such the better ones are on top. When Joe homeowner calls guess which ones they call first? I can’t recommend one over another I just supply a list.
  24. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    I have more than 3.

    1. How long it takes to season wood properly
    2. Better mechanism for stacking wood
    3. Wood stoves burn a lot hotter than I thought. (850 is really hot)
    4. Interesting code things like: You can't legally install a non-epa approved stove these days, No installing solid fuel appliances in a garage, and 0-clearance fireplaces must have a chimney liner installed.
    5. No one likes to hate Elm as much as I do, so I should probably suffer in silence.
    6. Never put anything short of corning ware within 5o feet of a wood stove, including carpet, interior walls of the house and pet mice.
    7. Some people cut and burn enough wood to heat a Home Depot, thus they have a lot of experience, and good tips.
  25. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Well, you have to relearn this one....in most of the US you can install used non-epa stoves.

    Now, Elk claims that non-UL stoves (safety tested) cannot be legally installed. While I surely cannot speak for Mass, my opinion is that NFPA and other codes address these under their "generic" clearances and that the installatiion of non-listed stoves is probably "legal" in many areas....

    "legal" may be the wrong word, but I would say that many inspectors, insurance companies and other such entities would allow antique and other non-listed stoves installed as long as they were in good condition.

    I'll have to ask my code-writing friends about this when I have a chance (many people in our industry are on the committees that write NFPA and IBC, etc.)
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