Hearth News

Learn Helpful Tips & Tricks from the Community

Wood Stoves and Fireplaces OPERATION OF CATALTYIC WOOD STOVES
Installing Your Catalytic Woodstove:

OPERATING AND CARING FOR A NON-CATALYTIC WOOD STOVE

Improper installation of your woodstove can result in a house fire and cause greater pollution. If a stove isn’t installed properly, it can also affect the draft of the stove (i.e., ability to draw combustion air and expel exhaust). Proper draft is critical to reducing pollution and maintaining high efficiency. Before having your stove installed, be sure to check with local authorities regarding building codes and permits, and notify your fire insurance company. The following tips discuss the importance of proper installation.

What You Should DO:

DO have your woodstove professionally installed by a certified installer.

BECAUSE: A certified installer can determine the proper draft for your stove, make sure all the seals are tight, and ensure that your stove is installed with all safety measures in mind.

DO consult a certified installer about the need for a flue liner in your masonry chimney.

BECAUSE: Lining the chimney can help maintain proper draft and prevent icing, which can block your chimney.

DO use the manufacturer’s recommended flue diameter.

BECAUSE: An improperly sized flue will not provide the draft needed to operate the stove. Also, smoke may leak into your house through the air inlets without proper draft.

DO make certain that all seals connecting the stove to the flue, and within the flue, are as tight as possible.

BECAUSE: Tight seals will prevent smoke from leaking into your house and contribute to good draft.

Operating Your Catalytic Woodstove:

Follow the procedures below to operate your stove for maximum efficiency and minimum pollution. The catalyst plays an important part in how well your stove...
Wood Stoves and Fireplaces PROPER ASH REMOVAL
By Ken Rajesky, Hearth Industry Expert

Whenever you burn a solid fuel, such as wood, coal, or pellets, in your stove, fireplace, or insert, you will be left with ashes to remove. These ashes must be removed periodically as they can affect both performance and durability of the product. The frequency of this ash removal will depend on the product itself, the type of fuel being burned, and the species of the fuel (e.g. softwoods vs. hardwoods, anthracite coal vs. bituminous). Small bits of hot coals removed, mixed and buried within the ashes, represent a hidden danger. What many consumers are unaware of is that these hot coals can stay dormant for weeks when buried in ashes. The ash acts as an insulator keeping coals from burning out. All these coals need to flare up once more is oxygen. It’s for this reason fire departments often return to a scene to place more water on smoldering timbers and newly flared coals.

What is commonly done is to take the ashes from the appliance and place them into a plain, simple, metal pail. The thinking is that the metal pail will not catch fire. Logical, but a metal pail is not enough. Then, the pail is placed outside on the porch because it’s outside and cold. Again, logical but it’s not enough.

[​IMG]

Most fires related to ash removal start this very way because a lidless pail sits exposed when a winter’s breeze comes along, and stirs the pail’s contents. The coals become active again, the pail’s temperature increases, and the floor can begin to char. Worse yet, the winter’s breeze actually disperses the now-active coals onto the wood porch and worse problems soon begin. Warning: always treat removed ashes with a great deal of respect, and do not leave them unattended for long.

Differences in Ashes

If the ashes are from wood, they make an excellent...
Wood Stoves and Fireplaces STOVE GASKET MAINTENANCE
by Ken Rajesky, Hearth Industry Expert

Before you start any procedure involving your product, its important to first check your manufacturers instructions to ensure that the cleaner or the method that you plan to use complies with their requirements. This is especially important if the product is still under warranty. This information will also tell you what size gaskets to use, and how much is needed.

Always make sure that you have the proper safety equipment such as gloves or glasses. Adhesives may be caustic to your skin, and your eyes are irreplaceable. We recommend that you have the following tools:

Time to Replace the Gasket!

Safety Goggles

Filter mask

Small ball peen hammer

Dead blow hammer

Thin bladed screwdriver

Caulking gun

Paper towels

Gloves, if you are sensitive to adhesives

Gasket Cement

Wire brush

Shop Vacuum

Masking tape

Questions that frequently arise are:

Is that gasket material made of asbestos?

What type of glue should I use?

First, all modern stove gaskets are made of fiberglass. Fiberglass gasket is available in many sizes, and density. The combination of thickness and density will depend on the application on the product. A frequently opened door may need a larger, more-dense gasket for a better seal and durability. A glass gasket, for example is typically not large or dense because it is not required to be large, nor is the gasket disturbed very often.

Gasket adhesive also varies. There are many types available, and most of them are okay. I highly recommend Heat Safe Gasket Cement. It is available in a small tube and will take care of most stoves. It is easy to work with, flows nicely from the tube, and keeps the gasket tight to the frame or door. It is an excellent product. If you cannot find this brand, look for a cement which flows easily - some tends to harden in the tube.

4VrjPC8MQjJw5o0wnYUcuPFxNWFzpjZDTwP1Pujk8lR_MSwDtVHGWpGQV-jNBKyil_nVgy4UGwT0QErocsg0WVHR7Dc5VdwP.jpg

Gasket and Heat Safe Cement

1. First, clean the...
Wood Stoves and Fireplaces WOOD STOVE WALL CLEARANCES - PRIMER
Written by Ken Rajesky, Hearth Industry Expert.

After the difficult decision of what stove to buy has been made, you’ll need to install the stove safely. However good the stove is, it’s still not safe unless installed to manufacturers specifications.

First, review the owners guide that came with the stove. Discuss the installation with your retailer. If you have further questions, contact the technical service department of the manufacturer. The Hearth.com Forums (on this site) can also help you get answers about stove clearances.

Firebrands and test booth wall w/temperature probe wires

What is a Clearance?

A clearance is the safe distance from the stove to a combustible surface. Examples of combustible materials include paneling, wood, sheet rock (even fire rated), and plaster (lathe). Safe clearances for your model were determined using a very specific and detailed U.L. protocol test procedure. The stove was placed into a wooden booth where the walls are on tracks allowing them to move back and forth. Heat sensing thermocouples are attached to the walls in specific locations. These thermocouples relay temperatures to a computer, which tracks temperatures during the test. As the stove operates, temperatures are tracked. The stove is fired as hot as possible using oven dried softwood strips which are stapled together to create a “firebrand” which burns much hotter and faster than cord wood.

The benchmark temperature, which determines safe clearances, is typically 115 degrees F over the ambient room temperature. In other words, if the ambient room temperature is 70F, the benchmark wall temperature cannot exceed 185F. If temperatures exceed 185F, the stove must be located further away from the wall. That is why movable walls on tracks are used. If the temperatures exceed 185F, the walls are moved back until the temperatures recorded are less than 185F. In a nutshell, the stove is run through the complete test, the...
Wood Stoves and Fireplaces WOODSTOVE HEARTH CONSTRUCTION
One of our fine forum members (Gwleo) recently constructed a nice built-in wood stove hearth and shared his method and pictures with us. In this case, a stone platform was desired along with two adjacent corner walls.

A step by step process:

1. I did research on clearances on this web site and printed off the wood stove owners manual I was fairly sure I was going to buy (Englander NC30).

2. I drew a sketch on paper so as to visualize the plan.

3. I taped out the outline of the hearth and of the stove (I lived with this for a couple of months) I played with different heights of the wall surround until I found what I liked.

[​IMG]

4. I used a rotary saw and cut up the composite wood floor - and had an electrician properly remove the electrical outlet..

I layed out and fastened the metal 2x4s on the floor and then the wall. The studs were installed sideways so as to take up less space.

[​IMG]

5. I then cut and screwed on the cement board. 3 layers on the base (because I had plenty and I wanted the base that far off the floor), 1 layer on the toe kick, 2 layers on the back surround ( I used 2 layers for added heat protection and so I could use 3/4” staples for affixing the metal lathe), 1 layer on top of the surround.

[​IMG]

6. stapled down metal lathe. ( I started by cutting the cement board with a utility knife but quickly changed to my worm drive saw, much more dust but worth it)

7. skim coat of spec mix over the lathe

8. started...
by Ken Rajesky, Hearth Industry expert

Proper Wood Stove, Fireplace, and Gas Stove Glass Door Cleaning

Before you start any procedure involving your glass door, its important to fist check your manufacturers instructions to ensure that the cleaner or the method that you plan to use complies with their requirements. This is especially important if the glass is still under warranty. Second, always make sure that you have the proper safety equipment such as gloves or glasses. Cleaners may be caustic to your skin, and your eyes are irreplaceable.

There are two ways to clean your glass. The first way is to clean the glass with the glass still attached to the door. I recommend using a cleaner specifically designed for removing the brown and black stains (carbon) from the glass. Cleaners such as Glass Plus do not do a good job when it comes to carbon. There are several brands available, and the cleaner I have had great success comes in the form of an aqua colored paste. Typically the cleaner will come in a 12 oz. Bottle, and say Fireplace Glass Door Cleaner or Woodstove Glass Cleaner. You must clean the glass while its cool for best results. All youll need is a few paper towels, or cloths.

Leaving the Glass in the Door

1. Open the door(s), and if possible, remove the door for easier access to the glass. If access is easy while the door is still attached, then leave it on.

2. Apply an amount of cleaner about the size of a 50-cent piece onto the paper towel.

3. Rub the paste onto the glass in an elliptical pattern. Be sure to clean the edges and corners.

4. Allow the cleaner to dry for a few seconds, and then rub off the paste and carbon with a clean cloth.

5. If carbon still remains in a few spots, repeat steps 2-4.

Removing the Glass to Clean

yV4gqxekjkLcmmwoj8ksrMBbCU6oIGYMyHqWleGGBE2THWqfvoA2inQl9GGV4hJUEIPc8MSO40aMDe14LdFyS119sEoQ75Uh.jpg

If you need to remove the glass to clean, and/or you feel you need to replace the glass gasket, then you follow the steps outlined below. If you have a digital or...
Relining a Masonry Chimney

Introduction to the Basics

Chimney relining is often the best way to assure safety and proper performance with solid fuel (wood, coal, pellet) appliances. In fact, chimney lining has become almost mandatory in order to bring existing chimneys up to present codes.

Reasons for lining or relining your chimney include:

1. Properly sizing (by reducing) the chimney flue. Proper sizing assures better draft, less creosote and other advantages

2. Upgrading the safety quotient - having a liner inside your chimney assures that the fire will stay in a tightly sealed tube - and also transfer less heat through the wall of the chimney to nearby framing and combustible material.

3. Some older chimneys were built of brick with no liner - and some newer chimneys have cracked and deteriorated clay liners. Either of these pose safety hazards.

Rigid Stainless

There are three basic material types used in masonry chimney lining:

1. Stainless Steel rigid pipe - is often the best material to use when the chimney run is straight. Rigid pipe is quite a bit thicker than flex pipe and the smoother interior wall will help with draft and cut down on soot and creosote formation.

2. Stainless Steel Flexible pipe - is available in various grades and thicknesses and can make relining relatively easy since it is often pulled down in one piece. It is easy to snake around bends and can even be slightly flattened (ovalized) to fit through difficult spots like dampers, etc.

3. Cast in Place liners - are made of a cement slurry which is poured down the chimney around a round bladder - after the cement has hardened, the bladder is deflated and removed, leaving a round flue of your specified size. Another method uses a nose cone which is pulled up through the wet cement to form the flue passage. Cast in place liners can help strengthen older chimneys because the cement fills in gaps from the inside-out. One popular vendor of...
Wood Stoves and Fireplaces SPRING AND FALL WOOD STOVE OPERATION
by Ken Rajesky

Over the many years in Technical Service during the early Fall, we would receive calls from customers complaining of awakening in the middle of the night to a smoke alarm, and finding a smoke filled room where their stove was located. Obviously this was disconcerting and prompted a call to see what was wrong with their stove. We would first ask how cold was it outside during the night and how they loaded and set the stove for nighttime operation. Almost 99% of the time, the answer came back that it was in the high forties, early fifties (Fahrenheit). These temperatures would make the house uncomfortable if some type of heat was not utilized so it made sense that the woodstove was used. The problem that caused the smoke to fill the room and/or house was not a mechanical failure or design defect but instead, a lack of draft. The stove was improperly operated for the season.

What do I mean by that?

First, you need to understand draft, and how it works, so here is a quick Draft 101 course. First of all, draft is not shipped with stoves. If you don't have draft, you don’t have a chance, even with the best of products. Draft will vary from house to house on the very same block because of the many factors involved even though the homes may have been built identically. Draft evacuates by-products of combustion (smoke / gases) by a pulling or sucking action. This action pulls air into the stove for combustion purposes, and at the same time, pulls gases out of the stove through the chimney connector (stovepipe) and flue (chimney).

Draft is determined by contrasts——-the temperature of the air outside of the flue, versus the temperature inside the flue. The greater the temperature contrast is, the stronger the draft. Chimney height, flue size, chimney connector configuration, fuel, and altitude are also important factors, but temperature contrast is a greater factor. That’s why stoves typically operate wonderfully in the winter, and...
Chimneys and fireplaces come in all different shapes and sizes. Following is a short discussion of varied flue and fireplace sizes and the things to keep in mind before venting your stove or fireplace. This article relates mostly to fireplaces and stoves that burn wood or coal as a fuel.

First, let's talk about chimney sizes. Chimneys can be broken down into two main categories; metal and masonry. Metal chimneys, also called prefab, class A and Double or triple wall are usually found in three diameters as show below. Larger diameters which may apply to prefab fireplaces. round flue tiles or single wall stainless chimney liner are also shown. Each diameter has a specific useable area, which is also called it's cross section. The capacity of a chimney to remove smoke and/or BTU's from an appliance is directly related to this area.


*only rare older stoves use 10" chimneys

One thing that we notice from this table is that a 6" flue is almost 1/2 the size of an 8" flue. The natural tendency might be to think that a 6" flue is "only" two inches smaller that an 8" one, but in truth you can see the difference is much larger.

This space for rent - contact webinfo@hearth.com

chim2.PNG

Effective Area
Since smoke rises in a circular fashion, only a certain area of a square flue tile is really being put to effective use. The listings in the table above refer to the usable area.
HWPy0MUGqBX_ezb7uFXqgl1LD8fI2VrhyL9TfSDPYIttDrCBNQ9dmRPiidkyZCJGZZNGJizQbncDePNgvth98DP0z6Tx7lKK.png

Venting a Freestanding Stove

In general, your should use the same size chimney diameter as the flue collar on your stove, i.e. a 6" stove should use a 6" chimney or a 7 1/2 X 7 1/2 flue tile. In most cases, you can also step up a size or two..for instance, a 6" stove could vent into an 8" insulated chimney. If your flue is over 3 times the size of your stove outlet ( i.e. a 6" stove into a 13 X 13 Flue tile), then you may have problems with excess cooling of the smoke, resulting in poor draft...
THE REAL WOOD FIRE
NATURAL
RENEWABLE
BEAUTIFUL


FEEL GOOD - CHOOSE WOOD

A real wood fire satisfies like no imitation can. Each fire is unique, following its random path from lit kindling to dramatic flames to red coals. The soft glow of the fire creates a memorable setting for intimate conversation. It’s the place where family and friends gather. Gazing into the fire in a quiet moment, your imagination is free to soar on flights of fancy or probe the depths of the soul.

A wood burning stove or heating fireplace bathes the room with a rich, soothing warmth that no other energy source can equal. The fire’s radiance gives a welcome embrace as you come in from the cold. With its all-natural ingredients, a real wood fire is a hearty tonic for winter chill.

When you warm your life with wood, you participate in a natural cycle and an ancient human ritual. The simple act of stirring coals and placing logs on the hearth is one we share with ancestors who lived at the dawn of human history.

Burning wood for warmth is still satisfying. True, it takes a little extra effort, but like tending a garden or home cooking a meal, you are always rewarded.

WOOD IS A RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCE - WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?


flame.jpg
olar power from the sun, wind power, and wood energy are renewable resources, meaning they can be used forever without depleting the earth. Using renewable energy is like living off the interest earned by the earth’s assets, and never touching its savings.

In contrast, fossil fuels like oil, gas and coal are not renewable and their consumption is the leading cause of global warming. Burning fossil fuels sends carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, on a one-way trip. It pumps million-year-old carbon from inside the earth into the atmosphere, where the concentration of carbon dioxide is increasing. Burning oil, gas and coal is like spending the earth’s savings, and scientists say it is changing the...