Fire Chief or Shelter EPA stoves feedback

Medic21

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2017
521
Northern Indiana
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.
Lol, I doesn't work that way. Takes a good amount of heat to set the sprinkler off. Most are between 135-170 degrees. That said I don't think one would come close to the gpm needed for a fire.
 
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Medic21

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2017
521
Northern Indiana
You have experienced what I have. The fire box temps are high but flue cools and the gasses ignite. I have been sitting there and seen it happen. Blows a large amount of smoke out of the inducer. If it would cool enough and the outside temp and humidity would be right a flue inversion is very possible.

Shelters instructions require a lined chimney.
 

Turd Ferguson

New Member
Jan 26, 2018
54
South Central MA
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.
I never said it was required, only that the insurance company has been made aware and approves of it. I'm sure he would get a discount on his insurance for having one.

Here's the thing about advice on the internet: people take an idea and run with it. I wouldn't want him to build a full system based on mine (or anyone's) uninformed, and certainly unlicensed opinion(s) and, should the day come when it is required to perform, it fails to do its job. Just looking out for the guy.
 

Medic21

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2017
521
Northern Indiana
Got my auber probe temp sensor today. Holding 400-450 while burning with the inducer running. 250-300 with it off. I noticed how fast the temp rises on an electronic sensor when loading and firing it. Pretty quick to get to 800 by the time the other probe hits 550. I like the ability of not running to the basement to check it.

IMG_1145.JPG
 

JRHAWK9

Minister of Fire
Jan 8, 2014
1,173
Wisconsin Dells, WI
Here's another option for remote monitoring of temps.
https://www.thermoworks.com/Smoke

I have it and it works FANTASTIC. I use it to remotely monitor my flue and plenum temps. However, it may not work for you guys if you are seeing internal flue temps of 800° at times. The probes have a max temp rating of 572°, according to the manual. Also has high and low alarms you can set.

Here's a screen shot of how I monitor all my temps while at work, by way of a Foscam R2 IP camera.

Temp remote.jpg

The remote Smoke on the left, monitors my flue temp (top) and plenum temp (bottom). The panel on the right monitors my outdoor temp near the creek (top left), outdoor temp on porch right outside front door (bottom left), inside house temp (top right) and wood furnace return air temp (bottom right). The wood furnace return air temp sensor is placed inside the blower box.

I also have one downstairs monitoring the wood furnace (it's dark down there so the camera is using infrared, that's why it's grayscale):

Cam Basement.jpg
 
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JRHAWK9

Minister of Fire
Jan 8, 2014
1,173
Wisconsin Dells, WI
Ok, that is beyond OCD. someone may need to see a shrink. seriously, thats a lot of effort for heat.
ya know, I was thinking about you as I was typing this.....lol ;lol I KNEW you were going to comment and think I am completely off my rocker. Really though, wasn't much effort at all. I like the piece of mind of knowing things are OK at home when at work. Plus I can keep an eye on the dogs while at work too. The VERY first day I had it I saw our youngest golden knock the full bowl of cat food off the chair and continue to eat the WHOLE thing.
 

Medic21

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2017
521
Northern Indiana
24 hours after installing the auber probe, which I verified accuracy with boiling water, and I have found that my $17 probe thermometer is reading 50-75 degrees high at 550-600. Good to know and I was able to open up the air to it a little which helps during times the inducer is not running.

I have found that very little adjustment on the inducer slide, 1/8"-1/4", is 100 degrees difference in temps. I'm not trying to be a slave to flue temps but, do want it running at optimal performance without creosote buildup and still safe.

I need to get the engineer in the family, aka Dad, involved since I have a 24v actuator and an output on the master unit for temp to find a way to make the adjustments automatic. I would like a way to have the slide open up all the way when the inducer stops to allow for a better natural draft. I think that would keep it cleaner. A simple air control in the lower door would have been perfect but, I know that defeats the purpose of an EPA stove.
 
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Mrpelletburner

Minister of Fire
Jan 20, 2011
556
N.H.
Yesterday/today I have had much better luck, actually have the slider opened at the moment. Was able to get the house to go from 69 degrees to 76 degrees very quickly last night.

So what did I change.... I removed a straight 1' long flue pipe exiting from the back of the stove and replaced with an adjustable 90 degree elbow. The result is a more direct path to the chimney.

Also installed a temperature gauge prob inside the flue, about 18" up from the elbow. (I hope tomorrow to install my SS liner).

When first starting the stove, I started with a small fire keeping the bottom draft door opened until the inner fire was glowing red (basically the clean out glows red from the fire above). Then, I added some larger logs on top and again let them start to burn with the draft door opened. After about 10mins, I added 3 larger logs, keeping the top door opened and the draft door closed. Once the larger logs have a nice surface burn, I then closed the loading door. This whole process takes about 20mins to ½ hour.

At this point the stove should be ready to go. According to the folks at HY-C, the top left corner of the load door should be at least 800 degrees using a laser temp gauge. According to my flue pipe temperature gauge, the inner flue temp at 18" from the stove read ~650-700 degrees.

Following this start up procedure, I was able to get the blower to run for about 15-20mins and then cycle to maintain. Talking to a tech at HY-C, they stated "on" for 2-3mins and "off" for about 5mins is normal.

This is the parts I am still figuring out.

1) Let's say I add 3-4 logs and no longer need the draft blower to run for the next couple hours. While the blower still kicks on about every 5mins or so, the stove (upper corner of the front door) will stay between 400-500 degrees (most likely a lot hotter inside the stove). However my flue temp will go down to 100 degrees with just about no smoke exiting out of the chimney. If I kick on the draft blower for a couple minutes, the flue temp will quickly jump to over 300 degrees, even climb to 400 degrees. I can only assume that this is how the stove functions.

2) When I woke up this morning, I had about 2-3" of unburned coals, some still hot red, however more just black and not hot. My old stove would burn almost everything down to a fine powder. Is this normal? Just assumed that the draft blower would force coals to burn to a dust.

3) Cleaning out, starting that next fire. In the morning, with the chunks of red and black coals, do you just toss wood on top and get the fire going again, or do you remove the black chunks?

4) Do you rake the coals so they fall through the draft grate?
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
4,239
NE Ohio
While the blower still kicks on about every 5mins or so, the stove (upper corner of the front door) will stay between 400-500 degrees (most likely a lot hotter inside the stove). However my flue temp will go down to 100 degrees with just about no smoke exiting out of the chimney. If I kick on the draft blower for a couple minutes, the flue temp will quickly jump to over 300 degrees, even climb to 400 degrees. I can only assume that this is how the stove functions.
You will very likely carry more flue temp for longer after you install that liner...chimney is probably cooling and losing draft.
 

Medic21

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2017
521
Northern Indiana
2) When I woke up this morning, I had about 2-3" of unburned coals, some still hot red, however more just black and not hot. My old stove would burn almost everything down to a fine powder. Is this normal? Just assumed that the draft blower would force coals to burn to a dust.

3) Cleaning out, starting that next fire. In the morning, with the chunks of red and black coals, do you just toss wood on top and get the fire going again, or do you remove the black chunks?

4) Do you rake the coals so they fall through the draft grate?
I usually end up with 3-4 inches of good hot coal that the blower will still cycle in and off with. If I shut off the blower I have had enough coals buried in there 48 hours later to get a fire going again.

I clean out what is in front and try to sift through. In no way do I clean it out completely except once a week. This burns front to back so the highest amount of coal will be along the back.

I use kindling and go through the process of starting if there are not large chunks of coal. The fire box being warm or even somewhat hot makes the process faster. It takes me 30 min in the morning to get it loaded full again if I don't fill it before I lose those large chunks. I fill at 9pm before bed and At 5 I can just throw in large splits a layer at a time to get it going again. One thing I have started doing is using an ash shovel to bank the coals to both sides so when I load it the middle piece sits almost on the bottom of the fire box then a full layer above that. I can shut the door and it will last 4 hours like that if I'm home. It seams to burn much more even when banked. If not it will burn from the left to right as much as front to back.

My biggest issue right now is it's 47 degrees out and unless I want it 80 in the house I can't burn over 40 degrees. I'm looking for an older non EPA model that has the air dial in the ash door. They are the same size and I think that could make it more useful on days like today. The other option may be adding an air intake like secondary tubes that can be manually controlled without the inducer.
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
4,239
NE Ohio
One thing I have started doing is using an ash shovel to bank the coals to both sides so when I load it the middle piece sits almost on the bottom of the fire box then a full layer above that. I can shut the door and it will last 4 hours like that if I'm home. It seams to burn much more even when banked. If not it will burn from the left to right as much as front to back.
Ever try pulling the coals to the front, then load on that?
My biggest issue right now is it's 47 degrees out and unless I want it 80 in the house I can't burn over 40 degrees. I'm looking for an older non EPA model that has the air dial in the ash door. They are the same size and I think that could make it more useful on days like today.
An older furnace will not do any better on warmer days...it will only crap the chimney up if you try to run "low and slow"
Wood heat in the springtime/fall type weather becomes more about learning to do small/hot/quick loads, figuring out the timing of the loads (obviously doing less loads) and getting used to letting the house temp swing a little...no practical way you can control to within a couple degrees.
What we did for the "shoulder season" heating was to install a wood insert stove in the LR fireplace...has worked out real well. Its a 1.8 CF stove so it will do small/hot/quick fires much better than a big ole furnace...
 

JRHAWK9

Minister of Fire
Jan 8, 2014
1,173
Wisconsin Dells, WI
My biggest issue right now is it's 47 degrees out and unless I want it 80 in the house I can't burn over 40 degrees. I'm looking for an older non EPA model that has the air dial in the ash door. They are the same size and I think that could make it more useful on days like today. The other option may be adding an air intake like secondary tubes that can be manually controlled without the inducer.
I can't keep a continuous fire going if it's consistently over 25-30°. Got down to 22° overnight last night and it's currently 75° in the house and I didn't have a fire going for most of the day yesterday. It's the nature of the beast with wood furnaces. Like bren mentioned above, the older smoke dragons will be even worse/less safe during the shoulder seasons. You need to make small/quick/hot fires. When it gets to be the shoulder season I do lighter main fire at night and then MAYBE another VERY small one either when I get home from work or in the morning. Talking about 15 lbs or so for the very small loads, enough for 2-3 hours of heat. I basically mainly heat the house at night and then let the inside temp coast down during the day. Then get home and either light the very small load or wait till bedtime and do just an light overnight load. It all depends, for me, on how warm it's going to be and if the sun will be shining, as we get tremendous solar gain due to the ~120 SF of southern exposure window area we have.
 

Mrpelletburner

Minister of Fire
Jan 20, 2011
556
N.H.
Well installed a SS liner today. Took about 3.5hrs total. Got hung up on a jog in the flue. Ended up making a cone out of flashing, eyelet bolt and an clamp. Attaching a rope to the bottom, helped move things along.

This is definitely a 2 person job and worth the extra $$ to buy the install cone.

Will see how things go.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

woodey

Member
Feb 8, 2018
97
ST. Lawrence Valley N.Y.
I can't keep a continuous fire going if it's consistently over 25-30°. Got down to 22° overnight last night and it's currently 75° in the house and I didn't have a fire going for most of the day yesterday. It's the nature of the beast with wood furnaces. Like bren mentioned above, the older smoke dragons will be even worse/less safe during the shoulder seasons. You need to make small/quick/hot fires. When it gets to be the shoulder season I do lighter main fire at night and then MAYBE another VERY small one either when I get home from work or in the morning. Talking about 15 lbs or so for the very small loads, enough for 2-3 hours of heat. I basically mainly heat the house at night and then let the inside temp coast down during the day. Then get home and either light the very small load or wait till bedtime and do just an light overnight load. It all depends, for me, on how warm it's going to be and if the sun will be shining, as we get tremendous solar gain due to the ~120 SF of southern exposure window area we have.


Basically doing the same thing here with the warmer than avg. Feb. temps. Can still get a clean burn with day temps in the 40s, Getting great results by doing what JR. said. By putting on 3 smaller splits and the Kuuma on low for @ 2hr (or until most of the moisture is gone) I then switch off the computer let coals burn on pilot. The blower may kick in 1-2 times per Hr. and gravity heat keeps the house at 70-72 for several hours. I do have more seasoned wood set aside for this purpose and check the stove, pipes and chimney every day.
 
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Mrpelletburner

Minister of Fire
Jan 20, 2011
556
N.H.
So far I am not sure the liner has made that much of a difference other then an added safety factor.

With the stove in "idle" mode, over time, the inner flue temperature still goes down to ~100 - 150 degrees. Perhaps this will be normal and perhaps the liner just helps recover the flue temperature faster?

Using my Mark ii 25 manometer, the draft prior to installing the SS liner measured .08. Now readings jump between .08 to 1.04. Will need to reach out to HY-C to inquire about installing a draft regulator as the manual states one might be required, however HY-C support stated the manual is still being update.


Last, not sure why, but with this stove, the house has a much stronger camp fire/wood stove smell. Could also be that new stove burn off still. The smell kind of gives you a slight headache.
 

JRHAWK9

Minister of Fire
Jan 8, 2014
1,173
Wisconsin Dells, WI
Using my Mark ii 25 manometer, the draft prior to installing the SS liner measured .08. Now readings jump between .08 to 1.04.
IMO, that's WAY too much draft! Your furnace may require more, but I'm guessing that's way too much. Most are around the -0.06" W.C. area.
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
4,239
NE Ohio
This! ^ ^ ^
Last, not sure why, but with this stove, the house has a much stronger camp fire/wood stove smell. Could also be that new stove burn off still. The smell kind of gives you a slight headache
Not good! Get a CO detector immediately if you don't have one! A headache is one of the early signs of CO poisoning!
 

JRHAWK9

Minister of Fire
Jan 8, 2014
1,173
Wisconsin Dells, WI
Not good! Get a CO detector immediately if you don't have one! A headache is one of the early signs of CO poisoning!
!!! I completely missed that part. !!!

yeah, that's not good. I have a CO detector which displays the current PPM of CO as well as the max it senses.
 

Mrpelletburner

Minister of Fire
Jan 20, 2011
556
N.H.
We have CO detectors in just about every room. Going to pick up another one with a readout and install near the stove area.

For a stove that is not supposed to generate a lot of smoke, there is still a good amount of smoke exiting out of the stack. Surface stove temp (upper left corner) reads 650-700 degrees, however the inner flue only reads ~250degrees. So far running exactly like before the liner install.
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
4,239
NE Ohio
How tight is your house? Maybe the furnace/chimney is struggling for makeup air? That will cause smoke in the house.
Surprisingly a leaky house can have issues too, look up "Florida bungalow syndrome" the whole house acts like a chimney, the warm air rises to the top, creates a slight negative pressure in the lowest level.
Try cracking a nearby door or window on the next load, see if that changes anything.