Jotul F500 V3 - Smoke Leak

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karl1989

New Member
Mar 4, 2020
26
SE Wisconsin, USA
I have a new home built in 2020 which is very tight (spray foam insulation throughout). I have a standard forced-air HVAC system with an HRV which I have been running constantly.

My stove is a new Jotul F500 V3 (EPA 2020). I have a straight 16' chimney.

I am getting smoke pouring out from all around the stove doors and air control

I guess it is related to draft. I start my fires by lining the entire firebox in brown paper (grocery bag) and am using hardwood kiln-dried kindling

I wonder if this is caused by air pressure of my house.

Once the fire is going I have no smoke leaking, it's only during the first few minutes of start-up.
 
Last edited:

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
3,548
SE North Carolina
Can you describe your install on more detail. Top or rear vent? Any 90s or 45s? How tall is the flue?

Try opening the nearest window and inch or two. During your next start. Other things to try is pre heating flue with a heat gun or torch. (Hair dryer could work too).

I quit using paper not I split kindling small and use fat wood with a small kitchen butane torch.

Evan
 
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jotulf45v2

Member
Sep 22, 2021
60
CT Shoreline
First step before starting a fire is when you open the door to the stove, do you feel a rush of cold air? Put your hand into the firebox, if you feel cold air coming from the top, you have negative pressure.

If you have a window near the stove I recommend opening it. While it's open light a small fire in the stove with fast burning kindling, something that doesn't produce a lot of smoke like paper. You may need to burn multiple wads to warm the flue. Or take a propane torch and warm the box. Once the draft is initiated, then build your fire normally. Once the fire is going you can close the window.

For a tightly sealed home, a fresh air intake solves this issue. IMO you don't need a fresh air intake unless the draft is reversing during use but it is needed if you're running other systems that compete with the operation of the stove.
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
96,392
South Puget Sound, WA
How many floors are there in the house and what floor is the stove on? Does it have an outside air connection?

It could be negative room pressure. Try opening a nearby window an inch and see if that helps.
 

karl1989

New Member
Mar 4, 2020
26
SE Wisconsin, USA
single story, 2300 square feet, but I have a partially exposed basement with several windows (not sure if that matters). Stove does not have any outside air connection.

once the fire is hot I have great draft. Sounds like vacuum.

Stove is on the main floor. I have top vent going straight up. Interior pipe is 8 feet double wall. My chimney is at least 8 feet outside.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
96,392
South Puget Sound, WA
Try opening a nearby window a little before starting the stove. If that makes a notable difference, the stove needs an outside air connection. Given the description of the house I would do that anyway to reduce the possibility of reverse draft when the stove is cooling down. Is there a CO monitor mounted nearby?

What are the outdoor temps when this is happening. Can you update your avatar location to be a bit more specific? It helps to know the general location so that we know the weather conditions in which you are burning.
 

karl1989

New Member
Mar 4, 2020
26
SE Wisconsin, USA
Im in South Eastern Wisconsin, its 33F today.

I have started a few fires without this issue (not sure what was different except maybe outside temp?). I did close some of my vents near the stove - could this be a factor?

Should i be running my HRV continuously? What about running furnace fan?

I dont think I have any reverse drafting going on when stove cools
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
96,392
South Puget Sound, WA
Good, outside temps are fine. Thanks I didn't know if you were in California or Maine.
Yes, run the HRV, but I would plan on adding an outside air connection to the stove. It will run better. Reverse draft can be unpredictable. It may not normally happen, but a condition could occur if for example a low pressure system moved in overnight and raised outdoor temps into the 50s.

PS: Congratulations for having a tightly constructed home. It will save a lot over time.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
96,392
South Puget Sound, WA
My first few fires it was warmer out and I did not see this issue

Im wondering if my fire starting methods are bad.

Is SuperCedar OK to use with my stove?
Yes, SuperCedars are safe to use with your stove and a good starter. Actually this is probably much better. Using a lot of paper can plug the cat up with ash flakes.
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
96,392
South Puget Sound, WA
Normally once a season.
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
3,548
SE North Carolina
Two additions to my previous comment. I like the top down method of starting a fire with lots of small split kindling. It gets the top of the firebox and flue heated up In a hurry. Second do you have a carbon monoxide detector? You should in the the stove room.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
30,242
central pa
Ok I will get some and try that.

Now I'm worried i clogged my Cat. How often should it be cleaned?
On most cat stoves once a season is plenty. But yours has no bypass so it may need cleaned more often
 

karl1989

New Member
Mar 4, 2020
26
SE Wisconsin, USA
I ordered a plug in CO detector which I will put near the stove. We have 4 smoke/CO detectors in the house but not in the same room as stove.

I will try some SuperCedars this week and report back if that makes a difference.
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
7,087
Downeast Maine
I will echo the comment that paper is actually a poor fire starter. I have the best luck with pencil sized kindling and matches on my stove with a balky draft from cold. Now that it's colder I don't have as much struggle, but when it's mild out I absolutely have to crack the door and start a tiny fire with little sticks before scaling up.
 

moresnow

Minister of Fire
Jan 13, 2015
2,083
Iowa
Is SuperCedar OK to use with my stove?
Best I've found. Never used kindling again. We load the stove with full size splits and tuck a 1/4 or less sized chunk of the starter puck between splits. Top, bottom, left or right sides. Makes very little difference for me. Fire up, close the door in a moment or two. Away it goes. The secret is having well seasoned splits that are also dry on the surface. Highly recommend.
 
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karl1989

New Member
Mar 4, 2020
26
SE Wisconsin, USA
Started a fire today with no paper, just small wood shavings and had no smoke issues. I think using brown paper was my issue. Lots of smoke and no heat.

I don't feel any reverse draft/cold air when I open stove prior to startup.

I was able to observe draft immediately with my shavings.

I image the SuperCedars will be even better
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
96,392
South Puget Sound, WA
Started a fire today with no paper, just small wood shavings and had no smoke issues. I think using brown paper was my issue. Lots of smoke and no heat.

I don't feel any reverse draft/cold air when I open stove prior to startup.

I was able to observe draft immediately with my shavings.

I image the SuperCedars will be even better
Good news. Stop by a local cabinetry shop and see if you can get some boxes of scrap. It makes good kindling as long as it is unfinished wood.
 

FPX Dude

Feeling the Heat
Oct 4, 2007
428
Sacramento, CA
or better yet, any stores with pallets in the back, they're usually all over...
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
96,392
South Puget Sound, WA
Be careful, some pallets are treated.
 

FPX Dude

Feeling the Heat
Oct 4, 2007
428
Sacramento, CA
yes, don't use those, get the ones that look raw, or untreated, and unpainted.