Lopi Declaration Damper Stuck Open

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lrjones

New Member
Dec 20, 2021
2
southern Michigan
The damper on my Lopi Declaration is stuck in the open position. Is it safe to use like that for awhile? The company that installed it years ago has a 14 week waiting list to make appointments. It has stuck open or closed over the years but would eventually work after heating or cooling some. But we have learned to not pull the control rod out very far. I pulled it too far the other day and it will not go back in, even with some force. It is all of the way out now. I have read many reports on this forum about this happening and some supposed fixes. At my age, it is difficult to get into the insert to try and pull the tubes and baffles out to get to the damper. Would appreciate any advice on the safety issues or a possible easy fix for my situation. Thank you in advance for any advice. Really like this forum since finding it.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
92,798
South Puget Sound, WA
The bypass damper on this insert is a simple slider plate. Try to get a reputable, professional chimney sweep in the area to come and unjam it for you. They may be able to get to you sooner.

It's not ideal to burn with it open. A lot of heat is going to be wasted and the fire will burn quite hot, so keep the fire small and don't do full loads of wood.
 

DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
1,257
Texas
The bypass damper on this insert is a simple slider plate. Try to get a reputable, professional chimney sweep in the area to come and unjam it for you. They may be able to get to you sooner.

It's not ideal to burn with it open. A lot of heat is going to be wasted and the fire will burn quite hot, so keep the fire small and don't do full loads of wood.

We used to run a Lopi Revere insert in our last home, and I would not have been comfortable running it knowing that we could not close the bypass damper. Ours liked to run hot (a basement install with dry oak firewood), and I think we could have overfired it trying to do that. Our bypass damper did not have regular trouble the way you indicate that yours does (we always opened it fully for reloads), but it did occasionally get stuck if we heated up the flue really quickly or didn’t close it down in time. We think it was just the right expansion that allowed it to get stuck on an edge of metal, but my husband used to give the rod a tap with a rubber mallet to dislodge it, and then we were fine.

I think the idea of finding a reputable sweep is a good one, but I also think that anyone handy who knows how to read directions could use the manual to remove the tubes properly and get in there to take a look. Do you have a friendly neighbor or nearby relative or friend who would be able to help in this situation? It would require letting the stove cool completely and shoveling out the ash to give good access, but removing the tubes and baffle would give good access for a look or even a camera up there. You could post pictures here if the problem/solution isn’t immediately obvious.
 

lrjones

New Member
Dec 20, 2021
2
southern Michigan
I think I have it fixed for now. I notice that the tube welded to the damper yoke was hitting on the top of the alignment hole where it comes out of the stove. I put a bar in and wedged the tube downward and hit the damper extension rod with a rubber hammer and it broke loose. I had hit pretty hard yesterday but it didn't budge (should have hit it harder). When the damper is closed the rod goes thru the hole pretty well, but when pulling it out it raises up and hits the top of the hole. I have read where the damper yoke may raise up from the sockets that it sits in due to ash build up. That could be my problem. I can still pull the damper out a little ways and not have it bind up. Thanks for your input. I really think this is a useful forum.. Thanks again, Larry
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
92,798
South Puget Sound, WA
I'm glad you got it back in position. If it is binding, I would operate it with the bypass damper always closed until it can be cleaned and serviced. That's safe.
 

Birkie

New Member
Dec 15, 2021
10
Wisconsin
I think I have it fixed for now. I notice that the tube welded to the damper yoke was hitting on the top of the alignment hole where it comes out of the stove. I put a bar in and wedged the tube downward and hit the damper extension rod with a rubber hammer and it broke loose. I had hit pretty hard yesterday but it didn't budge (should have hit it harder). When the damper is closed the rod goes thru the hole pretty well, but when pulling it out it raises up and hits the top of the hole. I have read where the damper yoke may raise up from the sockets that it sits in due to ash build up. That could be my problem. I can still pull the damper out a little ways and not have it bind up. Thanks for your input. I really think this is a useful forum.. Thanks again, Larry
This was really helpful for me a few days ago. Thank you. This was one of the final restoration steps of a 1993-1995 Lopi Endeavor. I could not fully open the damper plate. Your comment about the rod catching on the holes was my problem. There might be some slight warping, but I think it was mostly rusty. The stove had been stored for 4 years. What worked for me was to lubricate the pull rod/handle with dry graphite lube spray that is safe for high temps. With the stovepipe removed, I sprayed the rod from the inside, and then took off the heat shield (unscrewed the small ring puller) and sprayed the graphite from the outside in as well. It now smoothly moves all the way in and all the way out.