Fire Chief or Shelter EPA stoves feedback

Mrpelletburner Posted By Mrpelletburner, Feb 9, 2018 at 9:01 AM

  1. Mrpelletburner

    Mrpelletburner
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    While researching new EPA rated stoves, I could not locate much info regarding the new Fire Chief / Shelter EPA rated stoves. Hope this thread becomes a place where FC/S owners can post their experience setup.

    Perhaps someone that had an older version and has since upgraded, could provide feedback regarding burn times and wood consumption? Was the upgrade worth it?

    Once my FC1000 arrives, I will be sharing my feedback.
     
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  2. Mrpelletburner

    Mrpelletburner
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    So got to thinking today....

    My current setup has knobs to control the draft (heat output of stove, old Hunstman stove). On the EPA rated Fire Chief the flap is fixed to 3/8” open and is not adjustable. So my question is... How do you control the heat output? Does the stove produce the same heat on a 0deg day and a 35deg day? If so, how do you stop the furnace from baking you out of the house?


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  3. Mrpelletburner

    Mrpelletburner
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    Update 2-18-18

    Assembled the stove tonight and ran into a couple of issues.

    First, the thermostat control box had he back plate mounted upside down (see attached photos).

    Second, the draft blower was wired from the top, not the bottom (see attached photos).

    Perhaps they are still working out the bugs?

    First fire... The stove is going to burn off a lot of oil, if possible fire up the stove outside. Tons of smoke.

    So far, I am not sure of the draft blower does anything. It runs, but doesn’t seem to kick the fire up. Opening the draft door does more for cranking the heat quickly.

    IMG_9962.JPG IMG_9963.JPG IMG_9965.JPG IMG_9966.JPG


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  4. Medic21

    Medic21
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    1st thing. This stove will not burn properly without a good bed of hot coals. You will find that the stack temps drop drastically between calls for heat. The following procedure for lighting it is what I have found works best:

    lots of kindling. And 5-6 pieces of small, 3-4" splits or rounds. This is the best way I have found to establish a bed of coals. Light th fire and add the small pieces a couple at a time. I uasually have the ash door open and close the load door in between adding pieces. Watch the flue temps, I let mine get to 450+ and then open the load door with the ash door still open. After all those pieces are charred and burning good I add 3 or four large splits. I still keep the load door open and burn these one at a time till they are burning good. Once I have stackbt mos of 550-600 I can shut the door and let the inducer do its thing. Every once in a while I have to open the door back up, if stack temps fall to 350 it is not established yet. Takes 45min to an hour to do this.

    When I come back to reload I load it and leave the door open till the pieces are charred then close it and walk away. It takes about 15 min.

    Green wood will not light in this on initial starting and the fire box temps are very high for proper operation. 1200 degrees according to fire chief. Until the fire is established and temps are high enough the inducer will not keep the fire burning.
     
  5. Mrpelletburner

    Mrpelletburner
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    What are you using to measure the stack temp and where is it located?

    Have you measured what your pulling for a draft?

    I am getting a measurement of 0.06 - 0.08.


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  6. Medic21

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    I'm using a probe thermometer about 18" above the stove. No idea what the draft is. It's enough. I should add the way I start the fire pretty much is the instructions for the stove.
     
  7. Mrpelletburner

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    Wood is seasoned. Now have about a 2” bed of coals with 4 logs on top, all nice and burned. I have a magnet temp gauge (yea I know they are not 100% correct) located to the top left of the door. Opening the bottom draft door, I can get the temp to ~650deg without an issue. After I close the draft door and the fire sits, the temperature reading goes down to 350-500 and stays. If I open the feed door 20mins later, you don’t see a fire, appears to be just very hot black logs.

    Does this sound correct?


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  8. Turd Ferguson

    Turd Ferguson
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    You're in my boat. Measure your wood moisture and let us know. Also, did you line your chimney yet?

    Also, your installation was very similar to mine, with stuff being mis-assembled and in bizarre locations.
     
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  9. Mrpelletburner

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    Feedback regarding installing the blower/filter box.


    I know the instructions show to mount the blower first, then the filter box. To assist holding the blower in place, I mounted the filter box, minus the top panel. This gave me a shelf to rest the blower on, when attaching. Due to the weight of the blower, I noticed the rear panel appeared to bow out. Therefore I added a small piece of 2” insulation foam under the blower. Last I attached the top panel.

    Hope this help anyone assembling the blower/filter box.


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  10. Mrpelletburner

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    Did not line my chimney yet... need to have this snow melt. My flue is a 12x8 clay lined and within spec for a draft. Running without the SS liner and then with will give great feedback regarding what improvement adding a liner does.


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  11. Mrpelletburner

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    Other attachment that appears to be locked... IMG_9960.JPG


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  12. Turd Ferguson

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    I will be very curious to hear your results. I hope it does solve the problems that the both of us appear to be experiencing.
     
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  13. Medic21

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    With my infrared thermometer I'm 800+ above the door when it's burning properly. It will get a little red at times and the snap on thermometer will read high.

    When the fan is running you should have a nice blue flame at the top of the burn chamber. When it's hot enough you should have a little bit of that blue flame burning the off gassing when you crack open the door when the fan is not running.

    It is a very picky stove. With 1200 degree firebox temps your not hitting that. You need to monitor flue temps.
     
  14. Mrpelletburner

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    Just split 2pcs of wood... moisture meter was 20% and 24%


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  15. Medic21

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    Ok, I'm not sitting in the semi anymore. Looking at the installation instructions I'm wondering if not having the chimney lined is part of your problem. The masonary is absorbing too much heat not allowing it to warm properly.

    How often is your circulation blower running? When it runs how long it is running?

    I can tell you letting this furnace cool off between loading, I'm not burning mine every third day when I work my 24 hr shift after loading it at 5am I go to work, is a pain in the ass. The fire box has to be extremely hot to operate as designed. The next morning when I get home at 7:30 it still has enough coals in it to get it burning but, in order to warm the house 2 or 3 degrees it uses a lot of wood to get the fire box heated up again.

    To give you an idea how hot the fire box is I burn the hair off my hands loading it without gloves between full loads. This does not happen until the second full load. My wood lights, almost completely, within 10-15 seconds of placing it after I bank the coals to the sides. Flash point of wood is 570 degrees roughly depending on species and it burns completely, cleanly, at its hottest around 1100 degrees and forcing air in will raise those temps. In order to get the cleanest burn those are the temps your going to need to have. I was told by firechief they put the second rivet in the blower because guys were opening the slide so much they were creating an almost explosive combustion and cracking the front of the firebox.

    I get one layer at a time going and stuff the thing full. I dont shut the door until the stack temps are at a minimum 600 degrees with the probe and all wood is charred. I will have my auber probe tomorrow and will have a better idea of how hot it really is. I have my slide set so the temps go down after I close it up. A lot of times if all I load is ash 3/8 of an inch is too much and you may want to have some tape handy to block the opening a little. It was 34 degrees last night and I got 10 hours out of it. Not using it today or tomorrow, temps are 55 low and 70 for high.

    If the inducer is running I normally stuff it full and wait till the temps are in the orange and close the door.

    I think you are running it too cool inside the firebox. The whole principle to this is getting it hot enough that it instantly relights with the introduction of oxygen. It should draft enough oxygen to keep a little blue flame at the top of the fire box with everything off and very little or no smoke when it's running right. My stack temps drop to 200-225 between calling for heat but there is that small blue flame along the air holes when I crack the door and the temps on the front are 600-800 without the inducer running with an infrared thermometer. There has been very little, only stage 1, creosote when I have cleaned the chimney.

    As a firefighter this thing in my mind is almost creating a backdraft situation, occasionally it will back puff when the wind is out of the south for me. It's doing this when there isn't enough draft to keep a constant flame because my chimney is susceptible to down drafts off the roof. When it does that I just give it a call for heat for 20 min then back the thermostat down again. That gets the heat back up in the firebox and chimney so it's hot enough to keep a small draft and burn the gasses off and the problem stops. This summer I'm going to add another 3 feet to the chimney and that should get it up from the roofline to stop that.
     
  16. Mrpelletburner

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    Decided to buy this stove due to 3 factors, size match for my house, overall cost and my experience with customer service. Today I again reached out to customer service and spoke with the same person. Basically he explained exactly what @Medic21 posted.

    What I have learned from your post and his suggestion is to get the initial burn hot, real hot. Coming from an old school wood stove, the amount of heat needed is crazy.

    Since I started the stove yesterday, the blower would turn on for a 1 to 2 minutes every 5 minutes, not really providing any real heat output. Basically I didn’t get the initial fire hot enough. So following advice, added 4-6pcs of 2x2 splits, closed the fire door and opened the draft door (key is to make sure air can pass through the draft grate). Let that air feed the initial fire and let that stack get to at least 500degs. Next fill the rest of the box and open the draft door again, until the heat has recovered. The next time the blower came on, the house heated quickly and the blower remained on for about 20mins.

    The person did mention that my draft is within spec, however I need to get a liner installed ASAP.
     
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  17. Mrpelletburner

    Mrpelletburner
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    This is what the stove and stack looked like today... not burning hot enough. Not good...

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  18. Turd Ferguson

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    Sounds exactly like what I'm seeing. FC reps have said that I need to put a liner in...I don't really know why they say it's okay to use a conventional chimney in their installation manual. Seems misleading.
     
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  19. Mrpelletburner

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    Also forgot to mention.. smoke detectors sounded off at 3am (good times, they work). Assuming from the stove cooling down and creosol build up.

    Was able to get the stove up to temp, blower stayed on for a good 20mins, house got nice and warm. Draft fan turned off, assuming this is when the stove losses heat (insert banging head emoji here).
     
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  20. Turd Ferguson

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    That's weird. Smoke or CO? Don't really understand how you'd have smoke introduced into the house except for a stack inversion.
     
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  21. Mrpelletburner

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    That is a good question... the smoke detector is a hard wired system and also CO detectors. The audible alarm said fire detected. I need to look up if it will say CO detected. Going to install another CO unit closer, one that displays the level. My plumber suggested having a sprinkler head installed above the stove area.
     
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  22. Turd Ferguson

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    Fireman/engineer here. It's okay to have him pipe in a sprinkler head; however, do you have the necessary plumbing system capable of supplying enough GPM to the sprinkler head to actually put enough water through it to make a difference? In other words, could you piss faster on the fire?

    At that point, it doesn't really matter if you're on city or well water. You'd want a booster pump to get you up to 100PSI. Presumably you'd dedicate this pump to the sprinkler head as you don't want to be using 100PSI on household appliances. You'd also want to be using black iron pipe as it's rated for that kind of pressure. As you can see, this tends to get pricey, quickly.
     
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  23. Mrpelletburner

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    Wow... he did not mention any of that. We are on well water, not the greatest pressure. Wonder what his quote is going to be. I was thinking of it's a extra level of safety.

    While on the topic of safety, the old stove manual stated in case of a power failure, close the damper flap. Now that they have locked the draft blower flap, not sure how to 100% choke the stove in the event of a power loss (in between starting that generator).
     
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  24. Turd Ferguson

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    You are right, there's no way to completely shut the stove down now that they've riveted the door shut.

    Typical commercial sprinkler heads operate around 100-150PSI. I am on well water as well, and I'd need to do a booster pump + accumulator so that it has a reserve of pressurized water in case something arised. I'm sure you could get decent performance on 50PSI but it's not going to deliver the designed gallonage.

    It goes without saying, but don't take my word for it- any system you use should be approved and signed off by your insurance company, a licensed (PE) fire protection engineer and your local building authority. Wouldn't want to see your house burn down and your insurance co not cover you because of some silly technicality.
     
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  25. DoubleB

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    Woah, horsie. I don't recall hearing, at least on this forum, of an insurance company requiring a sprinkler system in a residence with a wood furnace. If you want to do a sprinkler system, I applaud the safety mindset. That said, I wouldn't assume that plumber's opinion is a mandate.

    It would only take me one occurrence of a puff of smoke causing the sprinkler to douse a perfectly good furnace, until I'd rip it back out.
     
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