Castille Insert - soot and large flames

Peter_Radioman Posted By Peter_Radioman, Dec 3, 2017 at 6:41 PM

  1. Peter_Radioman

    Peter_Radioman
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    Dec 3, 2017
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    I have a 15 year old Castile Pellet Insert. It was running fine last year but the exhaust motor was getting noisy so it was replaced this Oct. After replacing the motor we noticed an excessive amount of soot building up inside the stove (especially on the lower left side of the glass when facing the stove) and extremely large & lazy flames. I minimized the pellet feed rate and that didn't help. We did another thorough cleaning of the stove including the fire pot, exhaust chamber, heating tubes and the exhaust pipe. This seemed to help with the lazy flame but we were still getting a ton of soot and we would still get large flames at startup and the flame height would vary from the top of the firepot to hitting the top of the stove during regular operation. Again this is with the pellet feed rate at the minimum setting. I also changed the glass gasket and that didn't really seem to help....same results.

    Other things that I tried and interesting observations:
    1) I tried 2 different types of pellets that we have previously used and that did not make a difference
    2) It seems that the fire pot is building up with a lot of pellets and the stove doesn't seem to shoot the embers out of the pot when it is shutting down. Previously, when the stove shut down you can see the embers shooting out of the fire pot.
    3) This is an older Castile that has the glass wash on the top. If I temporarily block it with a piece of gasket the flame gets much more active and during shut down I see the embers flying out.
    4) On cold mornings when I start the stove I sometimes have to put the fan on High setting for it to displace all the cold air in the exhaust pipe and start up. (the exhaust pipe runs to the top of the chimney and is ~24 feet)

    To me it sounds like an air flow issue. I purchased this new exhaust fan from a local stove company (QuadraFire 812-4400 Exhaust Blower By Fasco, AMP20141). The exhaust motor is really the only thing we changed at the start of this heating season. I doubled checked the installation and motor gasket and it seems fine. Is there anyway I can tell if the motor is ok? Unfortunately I disposed of the old motor already or else I would try that one again. Sorry for the lengthy description but I have been trying to troubleshoot this for several weeks.
    Any suggestions would be appreciated.
    Regards,
    Peter
     
  2. Ssyko

    Ssyko
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    Nov 6, 2017
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    Firepot clean-out plates completely closed? something blocking the air intake?
     
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  3. Peter_Radioman

    Peter_Radioman
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    Dec 3, 2017
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    The air intake looks fine....nothing blocking it. The two sliding plates that allow you to brush the ash into the tray are fully closed.
    However I did notice a gap with the bottom plate of the firepot (is that the cleanout plate you are referring to?). I remember a few years ago I was having a hard time pulling the firepot pull rod so I loosen the screw to free it up. My guess is that the gap was approximately the thickness of two dimes. Just as an experiment I tighten the screw eliminating the gap on the bottom of the firepot. Now the pull rod will not function because the screw is too tight. I'll run it tonight and let you know how it burns.
    Thanks for the response...
     
  4. Ssyko

    Ssyko
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    Nov 6, 2017
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    yeah that's the plate. if it is that hard to pull i would take it out and clean it real good, should be as tight fitting as possible but not bind up. i pull mine every couple years and glass bead blast it. come to think of it i need to do that this weekend :)
     
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  5. jzm2cc

    jzm2cc
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    Sep 25, 2014
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    I had similar problem buying a cheapie exhaust motor fan combo on ebay. Advertised as a Fasco but it wasn't unfortunately. Lazy, slow flames. Blocking off 2/3 of air wash with gasket material returned it to normal burn, granted now the glass gets dirtier sooner.

    Guess it pays to get correct motor, but I'm cheap. I think this one ran at 2700 RPM, OE was 3000 RPM. Fan was same size so it makes sense 10% less speed so less air flow.
     
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  6. Peter_Radioman

    Peter_Radioman
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    Dec 3, 2017
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    jzm2cc you bring up an interesting point. The exhaust motor that I bought was significantly cheaper than the other OEM alternative. I just looked at the technical specs and they were both rated at 2900RPM but the cheaper one that I purchased has a current spec of .5 amps while the more expensive fan has a current spec of 1.0 amps. They look identical but I now wonder if the one that draws 1.0 amps is more powerful than the one I purchased (that is, they are both 2900 RPMs but the 1.0 amp fan can maintain its RPM under heavier load?). As I mentioned before I have to put the stove on high fan setting when starting it up in the morning to displace all the cold air in the exhaust. I'm wondering if that could be part of the problem because at the end of last season the stove was running fine with the exception that the old exhaust motor was very noisy. Wonder how I can find this out?? Here's the fan that I purchased .... QuadraFire 812-4400 Exhaust Blower By Fasco, AMP20141. What's interesting is that all the fans have the same Quadrafire Part Number yet they have different FASCO part numbers!!!

    https://pellet-stove-parts-4less.com/products/quadrafire-combustion-blower-for-castile-santa-fe-part-812-4400?variant=1794293334044
     
  7. Former Farmer

    Former Farmer
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    Apr 12, 2008
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    Two dimes thickness is too much of a gap. You should only need half of that. You may have a buildup on the plate that needs to be scraped off. Mine will develop a bump in the center that needs to be scraped/chipped off periodically.

    Like Ssyko said. You should pull the bottom plate and clean it.

    Maybe double check the gasket on the new blower and housing. Maybe an air leak there.
     
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  8. Ssyko

    Ssyko
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    The Amperage has everything to do with the torque of the motor. rpm could be affected by the resistance of the impeller. So both can turn 2900 rpm but impeller mass and resistance will slow the new motor down more. Good call jzm2cc
     
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  9. jzm2cc

    jzm2cc
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    That looks like the same motor I purchased. Definitely a weaker motor, doubt it turns same RPM under load. Thus the need to block off part of air wash to get good air flow thru burn pot.

    Looking at electric motor curves (torque. RPM, I, etc) would confirm hunch about less current draw being weaker motor at same torque load.

    Live and learn in my case. I don't think it was even a Fasco motor,(which I like due to oil ports), but was advertised as such.
     
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  10. Ssyko

    Ssyko
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    Without your old motor you can’t compare, or cross reference unless someone (Kap) can give you the OEM part number.
     
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  11. Peter_Radioman

    Peter_Radioman
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    Dec 3, 2017
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    Thanks for the great information & suggestions folks. Sounds like I have a couple of issues to resolve. The plan is to do the following:
    1) Remove & clean the fire pot floor plate to minimize the gap... Hopefully find a good compromise between the gap height and ease of pulling the fire pot rod
    2) Bite the bullet and purchase another exhaust fan with better performance. Sounds like the exhaust fan that draws up to 1.0 amps will be a better fit for my exhaust configuration. The fan that I'll replace will probably work for someone that exhausts directly out their wall as opposed to up the chimney? Maybe sell it on Ebay for 1/2 price but fully disclose the situation?
    3) Of course perform another complete cleaning of the stove to get rid of all the soot buildup!!!

    Hopefully I can get the new fan and perform the installation & maintenance this weekend. I'll report back with the results. Thanks again for everyone's help.
     
  12. kappel15

    kappel15
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    Sep 14, 2014
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    Old Part # for that exhaust fan is 812-4400, as he posted. I lost all my parts price lists and #'s, so can't tell you what a new number would be, till I get it back on the pc.. Best bet would be to order it thru a dealer as some of these other ones may sell as a Quad part, but replaced with off brand. But then again, Quad has changed "suppliers" on a lot of their motors and fans. Don't even get me started. kap
     
  13. Ssyko

    Ssyko
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    I just was looking up motors and it accured to me that the quads have a taller finned impeller. That to could be part of the issue if the new motor came with the short fin’s.
     
  14. kappel15

    kappel15
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    The 812-4400 is for 2006 to 2011. 812-4470 is for pre 2006. This is wrong. kap
     
  15. Peter_Radioman

    Peter_Radioman
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    Kap it looks like 812-4470 is the part number for the thermocouple. If possible could you verify?
     
  16. kappel15

    kappel15
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    This is for the thermocouple. My mistake Read the wrong line. kap
     
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  17. Peter_Radioman

    Peter_Radioman
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    Happy to report that the stove appears to be running normal again!!! No more soot, normal flame heights and a flame that is much more active. I was able to remove the firepot cleaning plate and scrap it down to minimize the gap. Also replaced the motor with a better performing motor with more torque (probably closer to the OEM motor). It seems that the motor was the main issue. It is unfortunate that a lot of vendors advertise these motor with the same Quadrafire part number yet the motors are not equivalent. Oh well lesson learned!!! Thanks again to everyone for their suggestions and information. The stove is up and running just in time for our first major snow fall!! Cheers.......
     

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  18. kappel15

    kappel15
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    Glad you are staying warm. I was looking on a stores web and they mentioned they were after market fans. Sad. kap
     
  19. Ssyko

    Ssyko
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    Nov 6, 2017
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    Glad your back to normal Peter. :cool:
    Seams to be a rash of aftermarket motors out there, always have to check the stats and make sure HP, Amp, Torque specs. and rotation are equal to OEM.
     
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