England's Stove Works / Englander 32-NC strange behavior

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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
94,667
South Puget Sound, WA
98% of postings where the OP claims the air control is not working end up as being something else. New users often blame the air control when the issue is wet wood or weak draft. I recall only a few where there was actually a fault found in the air control, like a loose screw or the like.
 

MR. GLO

Feeling the Heat
Jan 26, 2021
352
Massachusetts
The draft collar is great addition for a basement stove. but its like leaving all the lights on in house. Make sure cleanout cap is ok and look up with flashlight to see if clear. An ultra low co detector is important too...

Instead of loading stove...I would ignite the kindling until an aggressive flame and then add small logs to see if any difference and then try ash or birch.

The new stove would be different because it would take longer to heat the flue, but it should have run without the chimney extension.

Make sure all appliances, vents and fans are off when testing.
 

lebrunmn

New Member
Jan 21, 2022
34
Hampshire Co. WVa
Thanks for the reply, Enplater.

I think I've eliminated wet wood as a factor: I've tried a burn with a second, older batch of wood splits from my wood shed, and even tried burning those sawdust bricks (sans chemicals or glue), but it just won't stay lit when I close the door.

I removed one layer (two of the four) baffles, and got marginally better burn performance: the fire would be sustained up to the point where I slightly latched the door, but when I went fully-closed, the fire still when out.

This weekend, my plan is to try a burn with the sawdust bricks and kiln-dried kindling with all the baffles removed. But before I try that, I'm going to take a recently-acquired, flexible endoscope and take a trip up the primary air supply. I remember reading the same thread that you mention, and I believe he said that his stove was actually replaced because of the issue.

If all else fails, I've gotten my old Fisher Mama Bear welded, and I'm going to try to install a baffle into that stove for a bit better performance & longer, cleaner burns.
 

lebrunmn

New Member
Jan 21, 2022
34
Hampshire Co. WVa
98% of postings where the OP claims the air control is not working end up as being something else. New users often blame the air control when the issue is wet wood or weak draft. I recall only a few where there was actually a fault found in the air control, like a loose screw or the like.
Yes, I desperately want to be wrong about an actual fault with the stove. Moving 400lbs stoves around isn't my idea of a good time. Hopefully, my new "slinky cam" will confirm there's nothing wrong with the primary air supply.
 

lebrunmn

New Member
Jan 21, 2022
34
Hampshire Co. WVa
An ultra low co detector is important too...
Thanks for this idea... I wasn't even aware an Ultra-sensitive detector existed--will definitely get one. The fear of CO was what prompted me to get the draw collar in the first place. Once I saw that smoke reversing down the flue, and out the air supply in the back of the stove, I knew I could never sleep peacefully again until that was sorted.
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
7,332
NE Ohio
This weekend, my plan is to try a burn with the sawdust bricks and kiln-dried kindling with all the baffles removed.
Removing the baffle(s) will basically make this stove into a campfire in a steel box...baffles correctly installed are critical to modern tube type stoves proper operation.
 
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MR. GLO

Feeling the Heat
Jan 26, 2021
352
Massachusetts
A photo of stove and flue temps will help too. When was chimney cleaned last?
 

lebrunmn

New Member
Jan 21, 2022
34
Hampshire Co. WVa
Removing the baffle(s) will basically make this stove into a campfire in a steel box...baffles correctly installed are critical to modern tube type stoves proper operation.
Yes, I'm fully aware of what I'm doing... This is a trouble-shooting step, not any kind solution. I can't even keep a fire lit, much less think about a secondary burn. I have to understand why the stove won't keep a fire.

I really appreciate all the suggestions I've received in this thread--it's what I was hoping to get. And I believe that I've tried pretty much all the suggestions, as this thread shows: chimney extension, dry wood, opening doors/windows, closing doors/windows, and even speaking to the stove in a soft but firm tone.

Rest assured I'm not looking to convert this stove to a non-EPA appliance--I have one of those sitting in my garage.

A photo of stove and flue temps will help too. When was chimney cleaned last?
The chimney was cleaned when we installed the stove--on 10 Jan of this month. It's clean. I've checked the clean-out to ensure it's tightly closed, and we cleaned the cap & screen for fly ash when the stove was swept.

As for flue temps, I've never gotten anything over 400°. Of course, that's just what you'd expect with a small fire and the door cracked open. If I could get the fire to sustain itself with the door closed, I'd build a bigger fire, but let's not forget the other issue that I'm experiencing: smoke pours out of the stove whenever I open the door to add fuel, no matter how much flame is in the firebox. This is why I plan to go spelunking into the stove later today to see if there's anything amiss with the primary air supply. A stove with a really active flame shouldn't smoke like this one does.
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
7,332
NE Ohio
When you take those baffles out have a look around to see if the flue opening is fully clear...I've heard of stoves that sucked up the ceramic blanket because the weight was not in place correctly...not sure if this stove has a blanket though...probably not since it sounds like there's already 2 layers of thinner ceramic baffle boards?
Might use your "scope" to look around in all the air intake openings while you're there, I recall reading about someone that found packing material (foam?) stuck in an intake...secondary IIRC.
 

lebrunmn

New Member
Jan 21, 2022
34
Hampshire Co. WVa
When you take those baffles out have a look around to see if the flue opening is fully clear
That's a good idea, brenndatomu. I'll take a look.

I did see that there were no obstructions when we connected the flue, but once I get the last layer of baffles out I should be able to get a clear view from the inside of the firebox. Will also take a look at the primary air intake, which I believe is the 3-in round opening in the back of the stove, with a smaller, rectangular-shaped intake above it for secondary air. I wish the company would provide a "schematic" of the air flow in their manual--that would be a great help. I understand that this model stove has just undergone a major redesign, so I hope there isn't some design flaw that we're all working out for them.
 

MR. GLO

Feeling the Heat
Jan 26, 2021
352
Massachusetts
400 "internal" flue temps is not hot enough and you tried the small wood only (not oak) and kindlin test. Then i would move onto stove issues and get a draft readings. Also describe the starter pipe leaving stove to the adapter... Your internal piping can make a difference on how well the stove lights and drafts. Some stoves require a foot or more of starter pipe before a 90 and some you can run a 45 right from the top and it will work fine even with 4 feet of pipe and a 90. But i would post photos and a video of your startup.

smoke spillage in basement is common. On reloads i have to open the outside door to basement, close the inside basement door, shut off fans, and be at 250 to 300 on stt. crack door wait 30 seconds and then slowly open...and not move too fast and have logs ready to load on coals...sometimes i rake coals forward and good habit to reduce smoke out chimney is throw some small pieces of kindlin to help catch the flame. And with one EPA stove on reloads i actually have to close the air inlet instead of open and it helps a lot. With another stove. 2009 with secondary air... i just swung open the door and chucked the wood in and no smoke.

All this information is good and amazing how you never had any issues with the other stove....I have always thought its the secondary air blowing the smoke out the stove. I wish I could shut it off and test when reloading.
 

lebrunmn

New Member
Jan 21, 2022
34
Hampshire Co. WVa
With my new slinky cam, I was able to confirm that the primary damper is OK. Here's a series of photos that I was able to take to confirm. It shows the damper fully closed to completely open, as I move the main air control. That's one variable removed.

I also took a few photos of my inside set up, but I doubt it will give you much to go on...

I'm going to have to sign off for today, and complete the removing of the baffles and video inspection of that for tomorrow... the snow, wind and cold is wreaking havoc on the mini-split heater in our remote cabin, so I'm off for another fun-filled adventure in the dark for the rest of today.

new stove set-up.jpg stove pipe and thru-wall.jpg damper fully open.jpg damper 3-quarters open.jpg damper partially open.jpg damper fully closed.jpg
 

Enplater

Member
Jun 6, 2017
145
NH
That draw collar doesn’t extend down into the stove past the flue collar does it? This is the first time I’ve ever heard of one. I had no idea what that was and had to look it up. I can’t imagine it does but I know on my 30 the baffle board isn’t very far away from the flu outlet and anything extending down into the firebox could be a problem.
 

Enplater

Member
Jun 6, 2017
145
NH
lebrunmn I also sent you a PM.
 

lebrunmn

New Member
Jan 21, 2022
34
Hampshire Co. WVa
Also describe the starter pipe leaving stove to the adapter... Your internal piping can make a difference on how well the stove lights and drafts. Some stoves require a foot or more of starter pipe before a 90 and some you can run a 45 right from the top and it will work fine even with 4 feet of pipe and a 90.
I posted a few photos earlier today... I have about 3-ft of single wall before before I get to the 90° and the thimble that goes outside.

I haven't really changed my startup procedure on this stove: 3 big paper knots on top, some fatwood starter sticks, then my kindling, then my splits. Should I not do the top-down start with the EPA stove?

I'm going to do a bit more poking around with my flex cam tomorrow afternoon, will post anything I find that's noteworthy.

Thanks.
 

MR. GLO

Feeling the Heat
Jan 26, 2021
352
Massachusetts
I doubt the draw collar goes that far in and it appears it has more to go..

Next time you have it apart use a block of wood across the entire top of draw collar and tap it in slowly while moving the block around the top edges.
I posted a few photos earlier today... I have about 3-ft of single wall before before I get to the 90° and the thimble that goes outside.

I haven't really changed my startup procedure on this stove: 3 big paper knots on top, some fatwood starter sticks, then my kindling, then my splits. Should I not do the top-down start with the EPA stove?

I'm going to do a bit more poking around with my flex cam tomorrow afternoon, will post anything I find that's noteworthy.

Thanks.
If you pre heat flue and have good wood light it anyway.

If you don't have good wood use kidlin and small pieces of wood.
 
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lebrunmn

New Member
Jan 21, 2022
34
Hampshire Co. WVa
Next time you have it apart use a block of wood across the entire top of draw collar and tap it in slowly while moving the block around the top edges.
You noticed the one thing that still bothers me about my installation... My installer and I did the whole banging on the top of the draw collar with a 2 x 6 thing until we were worried that we might break something. It just wouldn't go in any further. I was a very tight fit, and it was down in there enough that we were able to drive in the three screws, so we just stopped trying to force it. I just don't know why the fit into the stove was so tight, but I still hate seeing crimp area on the installation. Good eye!

The draw collar pre heat is just wonderful, though--even with the outside temps hovering around 12° tonight the flue temp is showing 93° on my monitor/alarm. The monitor is that silver wire coming from just under the draw collar.

Pipe stove temp sensor and alarm.jpg
 

MR. GLO

Feeling the Heat
Jan 26, 2021
352
Massachusetts
Dont worry only bang so much and each stove collar is different spec even if it say 6 inch.

I notice the blocks under stove did you use a adjustable pipe after the draw collar and before 90. Or use blocks to match the height.

That's great pipe temps..now .mine is 28 internal and it's 11 degrees outside...

My electrical bill is already crazy 450 a month I can already imagine what the draw collar would add but I want one...I was thinking of putting it on a switch to shut it off two days after shutdown when the coals are not burning.
 

lebrunmn

New Member
Jan 21, 2022
34
Hampshire Co. WVa
The blocks under the stove are the ultimate in laziness... I didn't want to have to stoop to view the fire from my stove-tending chair! The pipe above the collar is a single piece that my installer cut to fit.

That draw collar is 500 W, so it'll definitely make itself known on my next electric bill--still, it's so nice not to have to start the flue when it's cold out there. I'll most likely disconnect it when the weather warms up--if it ever does.

Stay warm--hope you guys didn't get hit too hard with that storm.
 

Enplater

Member
Jun 6, 2017
145
NH
I found my englander 30 likes a top down fire and the Fisher gma bear likes more of a conventional startup.
 

lebrunmn

New Member
Jan 21, 2022
34
Hampshire Co. WVa
I found my englander 30 likes a top down fire and the Fisher gma bear likes more of a conventional startup.
I've tried the conventional startup and the top down with my Fisher, and it didn't really seem to matter one way or the other--the draft with that stove & flue combo was so strong that I could've started it with a match and some wet wool. That's probably why I was so surprised with the performance of this Englander.

Didn't have a chance to get more accomplished on the woodstove front today. Spent my entire day troubleshooting a mini-split in my son's cabin on our property. Getting there was the real issue--the cold had frozen the untouched 18-inches of snow to hard-packed ice. It was like something out of the three stooges!
 

grog18b

New Member
Jan 31, 2022
13
Canton, PA
This sounds exactly like the problem I had with mine. I managed to locate the problem. If you check where the air wash comes into the stove by the top of the glass by the door, there is a steel lip there at the bottom of the opening. It extends all the way across the air wash. It should not hit the door when you close the door. Mine came from the factory with this hitting the steel that holds the window in place. Check that bracket and you’ll probably see where that steel is hitting it when you close the door. This was cutting off all the air from the outside. Just like you described, it would burn fine when I cracked the door and go out shortly after I closed the handle all the way. It was also very tight closing the handle, as it was torquing on that glass holding steel on the door. The damper did nothing at all. I contacted the company and they offered no advice.

I studied the problem tracing the air flow. It was obvious that it was the steel sticking out too far under where the air wash comes out. I used a large pipe wrench with the jaws open just enough to slip over that piece of steel and bent it down about 1/4 inch, the whole way across the opening. It only sticks out a hair past the stove body now. This solved all the problems I was having with the stove. The door closed much easier, the damper works to control the flame now, and it has good secondary burn. The door glass, when I was burning it before I fixed it would get covered with creasote so bad I had to scrape it off with a razor blade. Now I burn it all the time, the fire burns great and the glass stays clear now. I can see the air wash working.

Bend the steel carefully, and a bit at a time to keep it straight. Put the pipe wrench on it with the handle up, and pull the handle down toward the floor. I got a big pipe wrench from harbor freight. Worked fantastic. I bent mine a bit at a time, did a fire and checked to see how it worked. Took two fires for me to get it dialed in so the glass was clear all the way across the door and the fire to burn great. I hope this helps you. G
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
5,352
Long Island NY
(if this is indeed the issue, then) this is this forum on its best!
 
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lebrunmn

New Member
Jan 21, 2022
34
Hampshire Co. WVa
This sounds exactly like the problem I had with mine
Grog, thanks for this info!

I see the metal lip you're referring to... it's at a 45° angle from the top of the stove, and comes out at least an inch or so from the actual firebox. I had a devil of a time--even with a flexible endoscope--trying to trace where the primary air comes into the stove. I never was able to find the path. If this is it, it would explain an awful lot about what I'm experiencing with this thing. The metal airwash lip on my stove doesn't quite touch the door frame, but it comes darn close. I'm guessing this is what they did when the eliminated the "doghouse" from the previous versions of the stove?

I don't suppose you could snap a pic or two of how the airwash lip on your stove looks now? So I can get an idea what I'm shooting for? Really appreciate your help!

-Mark