Establishing draft on the VF100

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Micdrew

Member
Jan 15, 2021
53
Maryland
Hello all, now that it’s warmer weather out I’ve been doing one fire a day in the vapor fire, I would normally just call it quits and run the LP to take the chill off but with fuel prices the way they are I can’t bring myself to do it, that being said I’ve been lighting fires with a cold chimney (no draft) so before I light I have to establish a draft which can take a while. does anyone here have any tips or tricks to establish a draft quick an easy? my chimney is 6” round about 35ft.
 

Micdrew

Member
Jan 15, 2021
53
Maryland
Top down fires heat the chimney faster I do it both in my jotul and my small fireplace on the rare times I use that

I’ve never done a top down before, will you still get smoke into the house? cuz that’s what happened with me, i have a manometer on my stove pipe and it reads 0 or sometimes negative pressure, in cold weather it’s never an issue cuz I’m keeping the chimney warm 24/7.
 

Pinus strobus

Member
Aug 17, 2014
9
Northwest PA
I have about the same setup. I put a heater in front of the door for a while (10-15 min) to start warming the Kuuma up and allowing warm air to stage inside. After a while, I use my butane torch to kickstart my draft. I insert the torch through the baro damper flap and watch the flame. When there’s a downdraft the flame pulls towards the furnace, but once the flu heats up a little it will start pulling the preheated air out of my furnace and creating a draft and thus, pulling flame toward chimney. I check my manometer and once it says .01 or .02, I will go light my kindling. It will take right off.

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JRHAWK9

Minister of Fire
Jan 8, 2014
1,869
Wisconsin Dells, WI
Just take something to hold the flap on the BD closed while starting a fire.
 
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brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
7,236
NE Ohio
Just take something to hold the flap on the BD closed while starting a fire.
The BD should already be closed if the VF and chimney are stone cold, no? Other than maybe a real windy day...
I very rarely deal with a downdraft, but there are several ways to get things flowing in the right direction quickly...a propane torch held in the BD opening, or VF firebox...a hairdryer in the same places works well too...maybe even better.
I can usually just throw a handful of wood shavings (noodles) in with some small KD pine kindlin on top and its off to the races with one match (or none at all if there is a hot coal or two left)
 

JRHAWK9

Minister of Fire
Jan 8, 2014
1,869
Wisconsin Dells, WI
The BD should already be closed if the VF and chimney are stone cold, no? Other than maybe a real windy day...
I very rarely deal with a downdraft, but there are several ways to get things flowing in the right direction quickly...a propane torch held in the BD opening, or VF firebox...a hairdryer in the same places works well too...maybe even better.
I can usually just throw a handful of wood shavings (noodles) in with some small KD pine kindlin on top and its off to the races with one match (or none at all if there is a hot coal or two left)

In theory, yes, but mine will still flap open and lower the draft some even in a cold chimney. There are times I stick a marker to wedge the flap shut when starting a fire to get as much draft as I can in order to get the fire going as quickly as I can. Haven't done it at all this year though. Although, I never have an issue getting draft and I did that just to get more draft if I was being impatient waiting for the 'C' to come off the computer so I can close the ash door and walk away.
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
7,236
NE Ohio
In theory, yes, but mine will still flap open and lower the draft some even in a cold chimney. There are times I stick a marker to wedge the flap shut when starting a fire to get as much draft as I can in order to get the fire going as quickly as I can. Haven't done it at all this year though. Although, I never have an issue getting draft and I did that just to get more draft if I was being impatient waiting for the 'C' to come off the computer so I can close the ash door and walk away.
Oh, I guess your chimney sucks more than mine ;) because mine is never open when cold, unless real windy/gusty.
 
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Micdrew

Member
Jan 15, 2021
53
Maryland
The BD should already be closed if the VF and chimney are stone cold, no? Other than maybe a real windy day...
I very rarely deal with a downdraft, but there are several ways to get things flowing in the right direction quickly...a propane torch held in the BD opening, or VF firebox...a hairdryer in the same places works well too...maybe even better.
I can usually just throw a handful of wood shavings (noodles) in with some small KD pine kindlin on top and its off to the races with one match (or none at all if there is a hot coal or two left)
Just did a top down light with no draft established, it took right off with very little smoke.
 
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JRHAWK9

Minister of Fire
Jan 8, 2014
1,869
Wisconsin Dells, WI
Just did a top down light with no draft established, it took right off with very little smoke.
I have yet to try a top down light. I really should try it once.
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
7,236
NE Ohio
Just did a top down light with no draft established, it took right off with very little smoke.
I have yet to try a top down light. I really should try it once.
Might work for a cold start to establish draft, but I don't think the VF will run "right", as you won't get gasification...IMO about the best you'll do is to get some secondary burn...maybe...probably. But if the goal is to burn off a small starter load to establish draft and coals for the real load 👍
 
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Micdrew

Member
Jan 15, 2021
53
Maryland
Might work for a cold start to establish draft, but I don't think the VF will run "right", as you won't get gasification...IMO about the best you'll do is to get some secondary burn...maybe...probably. But if the goal is to burn off a small starter load to establish draft and coals for the real load 👍
Right, I would only use this method to get things going once the fire is established (coal bed) i will load normally.
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
7,236
NE Ohio
I haven’t tried one yet, but only because I have yet to find any of the aforementioned fire starter noodles !
Just lay the chainsaw bar on a round lengthwise...pull the trigger and watch the noodle pile build! (might have to unclog your saw, many saws can't deal real well with that kind of volume coming out unless the cover has been cut/modded to be a "noodle saw") the let them lay in the sun for a day or two, bam, primo firestarter noodles!
 
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JRHAWK9

Minister of Fire
Jan 8, 2014
1,869
Wisconsin Dells, WI
Might work for a cold start to establish draft, but I don't think the VF will run "right", as you won't get gasification...IMO about the best you'll do is to get some secondary burn...maybe...probably. But if the goal is to burn off a small starter load to establish draft and coals for the real load 👍

I dunno.....I think once things get rolling and up to temp the furnace won't know or care how the fire got started. I know there are times when I start a fire in a cold firebox that the fire actually seems to take near the middle or back of the firebox right before I shut the ashpan door. I also do an "all-in-one" load now. I put my paper in, some kindling on top of that and then actually put my weighed load on top of everything. I then light the paper and wait for the computer to sense the fire has come to temp and then close the ashpan door once it does. It's at that point, where, at times, I peak in to look at the fire and I may see it more towards the middle or rear of the firebox. It must move back up to the front shortly after closing the door, as the fire burns completely normal thereafter and has no issues going to pilot. I started doing the "all-in-one" loads this year, as it sped up my loading time even more.

I haven’t tried one yet, but only because I have yet to find any of the aforementioned fire starter noodles !

You just have to contact your local Pastafarian! ;lol ;)
or just make them yourself with your chainsaw.
 
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