Hearthstone Green Mountain 60 - ISSUES

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Drylightning

New Member
Feb 26, 2021
14
Massachusetts
Hi all,

We bought a Green Mountain 60 back in September. It was the first *new* woodstove we'd ever purchased, so pretty exciting. Not for long....

Background: since 2000, when we moved into this house, we've been burning 2-3 cords per winter. We don't cut our own wood, but have it delivered seasoned and then we stack it and use it. It's always been a piece of cake, and a great way to keep our house warm. (We used to have an oil burner, now we have electric mini-splits to augment the woodstove.) Our first stove looked just like an old 70s Jotul, and our second stove was a 70s (maybe early 80s) Jotul and we burned and rarely had an issue. The Jotul had a crack on one side, so we needed a new stove. Enter the Hearthstone Green Mountain 60.

It's a pretty basic stove, which is what we wanted. Soapstone on the inside - nothing too fancy looking. But, ever since we started using it in November or so, it burns like crap. Hell to start a fire, particularly since any opening of the door while starting it releases a cloud of smoke. Once it's going it's okay, but it has been rare that we can get a fire going strong. As long as we place the wood in perfectly, with just the right amount of kindling, and start it with the door cracked and a fan blowing on the stove, we were able to get a fire going. Eventually, we could even close the door. Wow! Every time we've tried to use the catalytic converter, the fire has gone out. Sometimes just closing the door makes the fire go out. Our control of air flow on the stove is limited to a hole smaller than a dime at the bottom of the door, for which there's a latch. That thing is always open. (After the older stoves with the three air flow knobs on the front, this is quite a lack of control.)

So, we didn't blame the stove right away. We figured new stoves are more fussy, maybe our draft isn't as good as we thought. So we had a chimney liner installed. No insulation since the chimney is in the middle of the house, but a huge improvement for safety (the clay tiles were maybe 30 years old) and we hoped it would improve the draft. Nope. It's not worse, it's just not any better. Also, the chimney guys who installed the liner said the draw is fine, but said it would be better after getting the liner. Maybe it is.

The stove sits right in front of the chimney and the stovepipe goes straight up to a 90 degree angle, then directly into our newly lined chimney. The draft should be excellent. The chimney is kind of short at 17 feet, and the liner is open at the bottom so creosote can fall down into the cellar, where we'll clean it out of the chimney each year. (Just trying to provide as much information as possible.)

We've resorted to using bio bricks. Maybe the wood we bought this year is too wet. (And maybe the Jotul was more forgiving of wet wood. Chimney never had much, if any, creosote build-up over the years, by the way.) The bio bricks are better than wood for this stove - they are easier to start (not easy, but easier) and will burn well for hours. But we still can't open the stove door without getting smoked out of our house, nor can we adjust the bricks or add kindling. (I am aware that using bio bricks can void our warranty and considered not mentioning that we are using them. But at least they'll burn.)

I've read about other people having issues with this stove. Did we make a $3000 mistake? This stove is terrible. I can't believe how little control we have of airflow. It used to be fun to start a fire. Now we need gas masks. We do have the dealer coming out to look at the stove (for $289) in about a week to see if there's anything wrong with how it is set up. I'm concerned they won't find anything wrong (we didn't pay for installation when we bought the stove) and will say it's our problem, not theirs.

I'm very curious what opinions are from the experts. I think my ideal result would be that the dealer let's us trade this stove in and gives us an older used stove, not sure what kind. But I think that hope is probably naive. My wife has emailed Hearthstone and they put it all on the dealer.

Thanks for the thoughts!
Dan
 

Woody Stover

Minister of Fire
Dec 25, 2010
12,277
Southern IN
The stove sits right in front of the chimney and the stovepipe goes straight up to a 90 degree angle, then directly into our newly lined chimney. The draft should be excellent. The chimney is kind of short at 17 feet, and the liner is open at the bottom so creosote can fall down into the cellar, where we'll clean it out of the chimney each year.
The bio bricks are better than wood for this stove - they are easier to start (not easy, but easier) and will burn well for hours. But we still can't open the stove door without getting smoked out of our house, nor can we adjust the bricks or add kindling. (I am aware that using bio bricks can void our warranty and considered not mentioning that we are using them. But at least they'll burn.)
I'm not too familiar with how liners are cleaned when they exit a masonry chimney into the room, then to the stove with two 90* turns. I assumed that the first 90 elbow into the chimney was removed, allowing the debris in the second 90 to be vacuumed out. But if the liner is "open at the bottom," the chimney system can't apply the available draft to the stove. 17' would be tall enough in most cases, but two 90s will decrease the effective chimney height by several feet, so draft may be marginal. Better to have two 45s, from what I've read in the forum.
Were the stove and liner installed according to the instructions provided by each manufacturer? How much rise before the first 90?
I think biobricks are OK as long as you don't get too hot a fire by putting a lot of them in loosely-packed. I doubt that your fire gets very hot if the draft is that bad, though..
 

Rearscreen

Minister of Fire
Dec 21, 2014
759
Vermont
Our control of air flow on the stove is limited to a hole smaller than a dime at the bottom of the door, for which there's a latch.
The hole is larger than that, or it should be. The intake is on the bottom of the stove and looks in the 3 to 4 inch range.
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Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,538
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
I am most worried about this “open” bottom liner. That must be sealed for the suck of the chimney to be applied to your stove where it will suck in air for your fire to burn.

Down in the cellar is there a well sealed clean out door? Did they attach a chunk of liner below the tee that leads to the clean out door so that you can cap it? That chunk of liner down to the clean out door will be nice because you can insert your rotary chimney cleaning tool there and go all the way up.

That liner should have been insulated if for no other reason than your old clay liner was cracked. Insulation is cheap and increases draft.

Your 17’ of chimney. How is that measured? 17’ from tee/crock up to the cap? Or 17’ from stove top to cap? Since you have 2 90s you lose 7’ of effective chimney height.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
91,422
South Puget Sound, WA
Go with the assumption that it is not the stove. It is either the flue setup or the wood is not fully seasoned, or both. An old Jotul had a simple baffle and could burn ok on a 6ft chimney. This is not true of modern stoves which require enough draft to pull air thru the secondary system. The advice you are getting is good. The stove wants an insulated 6" liner from the stove to the chimney top to perform well.

Also, most delivered firewood is not truly dry. If you take a thick split and resplit it, then press it up against your cheek does it feel cold and damp? If so, the wood has dried on the outside, but not inside. That dampness has to be boiled off, causing a lethargic fire. Get some store-bought wood and burn a load or two to compare.

Once these basic problems are taken care of you will think you have a completely different stove, one that will heat well, burning much less wood cleanly.
 
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Woody Stover

Minister of Fire
Dec 25, 2010
12,277
Southern IN
modern stoves which require enough draft to pull air thru the secondary system.
I see that the manual says a minimum chimney height of 14', measured from the floor, so maybe once other issues are addressed it might draw OK. Or add a section of chimney to the top, if it wouldn't be too much of an eyesore.
 

Drylightning

New Member
Feb 26, 2021
14
Massachusetts
I hope the liner was installed according to the instructions. The stove was - my wife and I did it. Getting the soapstone pieces in correctly was a bit of a puzzle, but we've got that right.

The stovepipe goes up about 3 feet, then there's a 90 degree angle directly into the chimney liner.

I'm not too familiar with how liners are cleaned when they exit a masonry chimney into the room, then to the stove with two 90* turns. I assumed that the first 90 elbow into the chimney was removed, allowing the debris in the second 90 to be vacuumed out. But if the liner is "open at the bottom," the chimney system can't apply the available draft to the stove. 17' would be tall enough in most cases, but two 90s will decrease the effective chimney height by several feet, so draft may be marginal. Better to have two 45s, from what I've read in the forum.
Were the stove and liner installed according to the instructions provided by each manufacturer? How much rise before the first 90?
I think biobricks are OK as long as you don't get too hot a fire by putting a lot of them in loosely-packed. I doubt that your fire gets very hot if the draft is that bad, though..
 

Drylightning

New Member
Feb 26, 2021
14
Massachusetts
The door in the cellar is not well sealed. It's rusty metal.

I think we're going to have to ask the guys who installed the liner to put in the bottom piece. It was their idea not to put it in, but it's now occurring to me that not having that sealed is causing draft to be sucked into the bottom of the chimney and the basement rather than into the stove.

This might be difficult. I think they'll need to pull the liner up a couple of feet, but it was a tight squeeze there by the flue.

We could have paid more than double to have the old clay tiles removed and an insulated liner put in, but we figured that since the chimney is in the middle of the house, we didn't need insulation. Without removing the old tiles, there was no way the liner would fit with insulation.

The 17' measurement is from the flue that the stovepipe connects to (about 3 feet above the stove) to the top of the chimney. Measured from the basement the chimney would be about 25 feet.




I am most worried about this “open” bottom liner. That must be sealed for the suck of the chimney to be applied to your stove where it will suck in air for your fire to burn.

Down in the cellar is there a well sealed clean out door? Did they attach a chunk of liner below the tee that leads to the clean out door so that you can cap it? That chunk of liner down to the clean out door will be nice because you can insert your rotary chimney cleaning tool there and go all the way up.

That liner should have been insulated if for no other reason than your old clay liner was cracked. Insulation is cheap and increases draft.

Your 17’ of chimney. How is that measured? 17’ from tee/crock up to the cap? Or 17’ from stove top to cap? Since you have 2 90s you lose 7’ of effective chimney height.
 
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Drylightning

New Member
Feb 26, 2021
14
Massachusetts
We will need to have our wood stacked and let it sit for a season before using it from now on, I think. That Jotul could handle wet wood, but this stove can't. Thus, the bio bricks to get through this year.

I'm hoping that capping the bottom of the liner will help the draft significantly.


Also, most delivered firewood is not truly dry. If you take a thick split and resplit it, then press it up against your cheek does it feel cold and damp? If so, the wood has dried on the outside, but not inside. That dampness has to be boiled off, causing a lethargic fire. Get some store-bought wood and burn a load or two to compare.

Once these basic problems are taken care of you will think you have a completely different stove, one that will heat well, burning much less wood cleanly.
 

Drylightning

New Member
Feb 26, 2021
14
Massachusetts
Yep, after reading all the replies - and thank you all! - I'm pretty sure the main issue is that they didn't cap the bottom of the chimney liner.

The "T" where the liner feeds into the house has about a foot of liner going down toward the basement. It is not going to be easy to get a cap on that thing.

Anyone think it's reasonable to expect the installers to come back and put that cap on for free?

Again, thanks for the replies.

Yeah what's that all about.
 

kennyp2339

Minister of Fire
Feb 16, 2014
6,310
07462
The "T" where the liner feeds into the house has about a foot of liner going down toward the basement. It is not going to be easy to get a cap on that thing.
Do a test with aluminum tape, tape off the base of the liner with that stuff, if performance improves then you know what you have to work on to fix.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,538
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Yep, after reading all the replies - and thank you all! - I'm pretty sure the main issue is that they didn't cap the bottom of the chimney liner.

The "T" where the liner feeds into the house has about a foot of liner going down toward the basement. It is not going to be easy to get a cap on that thing.

Anyone think it's reasonable to expect the installers to come back and put that cap on for free?

Again, thanks for the replies.

Imagine sucking a milkshake up through a straw. Some yahoo puts a hole in your straw. Now how much milkshake are you going to enjoy?

The milkshake is smoke and if your chimney can’t suck it out of the stove fast then no fresh air can come in to feed your fire. Cap that liner!

Alternatively, actually in addition, you should improve the heck out of the clean out door below.
 
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Woody Stover

Minister of Fire
Dec 25, 2010
12,277
Southern IN
Anyone think it's reasonable to expect the installers to come back and put that cap on for free?
Those guys don't appear to me to be qualified..where did you find them? My BIL hired a guy who "used to work for the stove shop," and I found the ceiling support box hanging by one wood screw, not securely screwed to a boxed-off 2x4 frame between the rafters. I fixed it as best I could, rather the bringing that guy back.
If you know the make and model of the liner, or have the brochure, I would read the installation instructions so that you have a better idea how it's supposed to be done. Then I would try to find a qualified sweep to come and check the entire installation, to make sure it is done according to mfgr. instructions and is safe. You have fire in your house; You wanna make sure it's done right.
Moderator @begreen has mentioned the CSIA organization of certified sweeps. But maybe the most knowledgeable sweep on this forum, @bholler, isn't certified. However, he has tons of experience in the family business, and reads a lot of information. If you have several independent sweeps locally, I guess the best bet would be to talk to them and try to find one that seems knowledgeable and has some good references. Or talk to other wood-burners for word-of-mouth recommendations.
I'm not really sure how you find these guys, I have just read instructions, read on this forum, and done the work myself. The guys that work for stove shops might be a crap shoot, and may only work on stoves bought from them. I saw a couple of 'kids' installing my neighbor's stove, that he bought from a local shop last fall..I dunno. ;hm
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
91,422
South Puget Sound, WA
I believe bholler is was CSIA certified and me, well I am probably certifiable. ;)
 
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Rearscreen

Minister of Fire
Dec 21, 2014
759
Vermont
Obviously, if the "T" is open at the bottom that as the milkshake analogy points out, is a major issue. I would have come up with a beer analogy but that's me. So, if that was the issue and you have been burning with smoky dying fires, I'd immediately check the condition of the Cat and see if it is black and clogged as your fires have been unusual and out of the norm to say the least. If, it did become clogged and you try to use it, you won't be happy. If it is clogged it's no big deal, just ask here how to unclog.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
27,066
central pa
Those guys don't appear to me to be qualified..where did you find them? My BIL hired a guy who "used to work for the stove shop," and I found the ceiling support box hanging by one wood screw, not securely screwed to a boxed-off 2x4 frame between the rafters. I fixed it as best I could, rather the bringing that guy back.
If you know the make and model of the liner, or have the brochure, I would read the installation instructions so that you have a better idea how it's supposed to be done. Then I would try to find a qualified sweep to come and check the entire installation, to make sure it is done according to mfgr. instructions and is safe. You have fire in your house; You wanna make sure it's done right.
Moderator @begreen has mentioned the CSIA organization of certified sweeps. But maybe the most knowledgeable sweep on this forum, @bholler, isn't certified. However, he has tons of experience in the family business, and reads a lot of information. If you have several independent sweeps locally, I guess the best bet would be to talk to them and try to find one that seems knowledgeable and has some good references. Or talk to other wood-burners for word-of-mouth recommendations.
I'm not really sure how you find these guys, I have just read instructions, read on this forum, and done the work myself. The guys that work for stove shops might be a crap shoot, and may only work on stoves bought from them. I saw a couple of 'kids' installing my neighbor's stove, that he bought from a local shop last fall..I dunno. ;hm
I was csia certified for many years but haven't been for a couple years now. I didn't renew for several reasons I am not going to get into here. But in our area certification is not needed at all
 
Last edited:

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
27,066
central pa
The door in the cellar is not well sealed. It's rusty metal.

I think we're going to have to ask the guys who installed the liner to put in the bottom piece. It was their idea not to put it in, but it's now occurring to me that not having that sealed is causing draft to be sucked into the bottom of the chimney and the basement rather than into the stove.

This might be difficult. I think they'll need to pull the liner up a couple of feet, but it was a tight squeeze there by the flue.

We could have paid more than double to have the old clay tiles removed and an insulated liner put in, but we figured that since the chimney is in the middle of the house, we didn't need insulation. Without removing the old tiles, there was no way the liner would fit with insulation.

The 17' measurement is from the flue that the stovepipe connects to (about 3 feet above the stove) to the top of the chimney. Measured from the basement the chimney would be about 25 feet.
Your liner was not installed correctly. It should be insulated for safety and code compliance and if you want to use the basement clean out the liner needs to be extended down to it and everything needs to be sealed up. With no tee cap and a leakey clean out door you will have very poor draft no way around it. I would demand that "installer" come get their liner and refund your money and then have someone who knows what they are doing come and install a liner properly. And yes it will cost quite a bit more to have it done correctly.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
91,422
South Puget Sound, WA
Beware of fluesy news.
 
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Drylightning

New Member
Feb 26, 2021
14
Massachusetts
Wouldn't capping the bottom of the liner solve this? If no air flows to or from the basement portion of the chimney, then does it matter if the basement is sealed?


Your liner was not installed correctly. It should be insulated for safety and code compliance and if you want to use the basement clean out the liner needs to be extended down to it and everything needs to be sealed up. With no tee cap and a leakey clean out door you will have very poor draft no way around it. I would demand that "installer" come get their liner and refund your money and then have someone who knows what they are doing come and install a liner properly. And yes it will cost quite a bit more to have it done correctly.
 

jetsam

Minister of Fire
Dec 12, 2015
5,323
Long Island, NY
youtu.be
Beware of fluesy news.

Ooh, a rare hearth.com floozy threadjacking! And by begreen, no less!

I bet this new direction will open up a whole new group of readers and advertisers for you guys... though I hear that there are other websites that already have floozies....

Wouldn't capping the bottom of the liner solve this? If no air flows to or from the basement portion of the chimney, then does it matter if the basement is sealed?

How will you clean a gallon of creosote out of the bottom leg of the tee with the foot of liner and cap on it every time you sweep?

If you resolve that (perhaps by dropping liner all the way down and capping it in the basement), you still have a short flue with an uninsulated liner.

Gonna have to agree with bholler.... you're best off with a do-over if you can get your money back.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,538
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Ooh, a rare hearth.com floozy threadjacking! And by begreen, no less!

I bet this new direction will open up a whole new group of readers and advertisers for you guys... though I hear that there are other websites that already have floozies....



How will you clean a gallon of creosote out of the bottom leg of the tee with the foot of liner and cap on it every time you sweep?

If you resolve that (perhaps by dropping liner all the way down and capping it in the basement), you still have a short flue with an uninsulated liner.

Gonna have to agree with bholler.... you're best off with a do-over if you can get your money back.

Just shove your shop vac tube in from the thimble. I’ve cleaned out catch basins with a similar method. Doesn’t need to be perfect.

I wonder if there’s some sort of plug you can insert from the thimble.

In the meantime. Like for today. If you do a bang up job of sealing the clean out door then your chimney is once again sealed. It’s cold down at the clean out so even silicone might work.