Lopi Freedom Burn times...........Air control adjustment

shadowrider

New Member
Nov 30, 2015
9
Mapleton,UT
Help!



I have had a lopi revere for 10 years and enjoyed it. I would get burn times of 8-10 hours no problem. Did pretty good heating a 2500sq/ft home. When it got real cold, in the 0-10f I would have to run it on high and the upstairs back room would be cold.

This year I build a new home. I designed my home partially around my stove. I will try and describe my design of my home because I partially think this is part of the problem. My home is 3300sq/ft, 2 story home with a unfinished basement. I have the bedrooms upstairs with a large kitchen and great room. I build the great room so it has 12' ceilings with no rooms above it. I ran my chimney on the inside of my exterior framed walls and have it going up the wall of the great room. When I get to the attic I have an open top on the chimney and I am just running the double wall stainless out the roof to my exterior decorative chimney. The reason I did this is when I am burning, all the usually wasted heat is going into my attic to help heat my house if this makes sense.

I also did upgraded insulation. I did spray in foam and insulated the roof top and not the attic. So now I have a cap on the top of my house that traps all the residual heat for the fireplace. The insulation is amazing! You can get a higher r value by blowing in lots of extra insulation in the attic, but I don't think r values are apples to apples. Although the spray in foam is only a r35 or so, it insulated better because it seals in the roof overhanges, and all the crazy corners and gaps that you usually can't get very well with blown in. I have low-e windows, and sealed my house up as good as possible.

I tell you all this because if you are trying to decide if your fireplace is going to be able to heat your home the one biggest factor is what is your heat loss like? I have been burning my new stove for a week now and can easily heat my entire home. I get my main level and upstairs temps within 1 degree and sometimes, my upstairs is warmer than main level. Mostly this is due to the insulation, but its also due to my HVAC. I installed 5 cold air returns in the upstairs to aid in getting even heat distribution and air pressure, and I installed one of them in the great room ceiling. Yesterday outside air temp was 20f, fireplace is medium heat and fan, main level temp 75 and upstairs temp 74. (My wife likes it hot) All my rooms are evenly heated also which is really nice.

Okay getting to the issue. I feel like the Freedom insert is burning really hot. I have it backed down to almost closed all day and its still burning on the high end. I am not overburning, but its burning on the warm end. At night, I stack it full to extend burn times. I have been doing this a while so I have tried most of the tricks. Raking coals, stacking large splits east/west, air flow all the way closed. The last week I have been burning and have not been able to burn through the night. I am only getting 5 hours or less burn times. I stoke it at 11pm, and by morning I don't have any coals. 6am is when I get up. Very few ash and no coals. Nice thing is my home is still warm, this due to insulation. I wakeup and my home is 70!

I was reading through the install instructions and came across something that got me thinking. This from the manual.
(Differences if chimney height and draft may lower overall burn times.)
What does that mean? Why would that effect burn times? My conclusion was that airflow and draft is different for each house depending on chimney height, design, and home design and insulation.(insulation because how "tight" your home would effect air-pressure of home)

My chimney heights from my old house to my new house are pretty similar. I am wondering if that because of the placement of my chimney and my insulation are causing my fireplace to "draft" different. Whatever it may be doesn't really matter because I am getting consistent burn times of around 5 hours. Way less than it should be.

Last night I was listening to it burn, after I had raked the coals to the front, stacked wood from back to front, let it burn in for 5min on high. I backed it down to fully closed on the airflow and I can still hear it sucking quite a bit of air. The flame is not backing down enough to make it through the night. So I decided to try and determine where the airflow is coming from. Right below the handle there is a rectangular intake. I put my hand under there and felt and I could fill the air flowing in pretty rapidly. Yes the fan was off. So I decided to look and see if its closing completely. Got a light and shinned it under and noticed that there is two stop screws and I was hitting the stop screws. So it was closing all the way and nothing appeared to be damaged. I then took a rag and placed it in the intake. It was only warm so I wasn't worried about it catching on fire. Now I could hear the intake air slow and the flame backed down to about what my reveree looked like.
on low. (I could go 8-10 hours on my revere, the freedom is advertised up to 12 hours) Decided to leave it that way for the night and see what it was like in the morning. I woke up at 7 am and my house was 68. OAT was 18f. Fan was still running on low and fireplace was still hot. Opened the stove to find lots of hot coals. Threw in a couple logs and fire was blazing in 10min.


Obviously I don't want to stuff a rag in the intake every night, so I am thinking I need to take apart the air control it and figure out how to close it down more. I am guessing that on fully closed it still has an opening that is letting air in. I need to be able to close it down more. I am guessing I can fine tune it better. Am I missing anything here? I am thinking I can remove the air intake and either adjust where the stop screws are, modify the plate so its larger and block more airflow, or a combination of the both. Just trying to make sure I am not missing anything.

Any input would be great. Quick note. I have checked for airleaks in the stove, door seal is good. Thanks

Dustin
 

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Hickorynut

Feeling the Heat
Jan 10, 2012
344
western ky.
I am not too good on stove technology. That being said, I have had a lopi freedom for about 5 years now and I never get more than 3-4 hours of good heat. I have always thought some of my issues have been too much draft. I know my wood is good, some of it has been 7 or 8 years old totally in a woodshed. I don't worry about it, just add more wood. Getting up in the night sucks though. Good luck solving your issues.
 

trguitar

Burning Hunk
Dec 2, 2011
224
Harvard, MA
The first year I had my Freedom, I had the same questions you have. I talked with a bunch of Freedom owners, too, just like you are doing!

After 4 years, and corroborating stories from other Freedom owners here is my experience. (FWIW, I have never tried to modify the air intake.)

The 12 hour burn time advertised is very misleading. I get a max of 6 hours of good heat output when the temps are in the 20s. I'm heating about 2400 sf. My place is decently insulated and air-sealed, but yours sounds like it is much tighter.

I interpret the 12 hours to mean restart without a match. I have leftover coals at 12 hours, but not usable heat.

The Freedom is a beast of a heater, but long burn times with usable heat are not happening. Personally, I don't mind waking up to a house at 65. It's nice sleeping temperature. I can get the temps back up to the 70s pretty quickly.

From my experience and others that I've talked to, your situation sounds normal for the Freedom.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
79,070
South Puget Sound, WA
Not sure what I am looking at here. I thought the Freedom was an insert. Do they also make a ZC version? What type/brand pipe is that on insert?

IMG_1088(2).JPG
 
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MagKarl

Member
Oct 10, 2014
14
Olympia, WA
I have a Lopi Liberty and a similar house layout. These stoves just don't close down like the old stoves did, even with the air control "closed" it's still open enough to minimize smoldering. I'm sure it's all driven by the EPA and in my case, WA, emissions limits. My folks had an awesome Lopi stove when I was a still at home, these newer stoves are nice but you can't shut them down and the tubes take up valuable box space. I try to load N/S overnight as I feel I can pack it tighter and have more morning coals to work with.
 

shadowrider

New Member
Nov 30, 2015
9
Mapleton,UT
Not sure what I am looking at here. I thought the Freedom was an insert. Do they also make a ZC version? What type/brand pipe is that on insert?

View attachment 168344
Yes, it is an insert. Mine has a "block-in" install around it. Those are blocks around the insert, then chimney was framed around that, and then stone laided on top of framing. The pipe is double walled stainless, not sure the maker, I would have to look it up.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
79,070
South Puget Sound, WA
Double walled stainless stove pipe, not chimney pipe?
 

shadowrider

New Member
Nov 30, 2015
9
Mapleton,UT
The first year I had my Freedom, I had the same questions you have. I talked with a bunch of Freedom owners, too, just like you are doing!

After 4 years, and corroborating stories from other Freedom owners here is my experience. (FWIW, I have never tried to modify the air intake.)

The 12 hour burn time advertised is very misleading. I get a max of 6 hours of good heat output when the temps are in the 20s. I'm heating about 2400 sf. My place is decently insulated and air-sealed, but yours sounds like it is much tighter.

I interpret the 12 hours to mean restart without a match. I have leftover coals at 12 hours, but not usable heat.

The Freedom is a beast of a heater, but long burn times with usable heat are not happening. Personally, I don't mind waking up to a house at 65. It's nice sleeping temperature. I can get the temps back up to the 70s pretty quickly.

From my experience and others that I've talked to, your situation sounds normal for the Freedom.
Thanks for your input. At 6 hours I have no usable coals. I am starting a fire from scratch. At 8 hours in my revere that I used to have I would have plenty of usable coals. Throw some wood on, open the air control, and it would be burning hot in 10-15min.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
79,070
South Puget Sound, WA
Got it, that's chimney pipe. I've never seen an insert installed this way.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
79,070
South Puget Sound, WA
What confuses me is that I thought in order to qualify for a masonry fireplace there should be 8" masonry surrounding the insert. Otherwise how were clearances to combustible framing established?
 

shadowrider

New Member
Nov 30, 2015
9
Mapleton,UT
What confuses me is that I thought in order to qualify for a masonry fireplace there should be 8" masonry surrounding the insert. Otherwise how were clearances to combustible framing established?
It is a little hard to tell in the picture, but it is surrounded in masonry. There is two layers of block its sitting on and 8" cinder block on both sides and back and top. Then its covered in concrete mortar. Then the framing was framed up to the cinder block.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
79,070
South Puget Sound, WA
Thanks for the clarification. The end result looks great.
 

fitter9

Member
Oct 10, 2013
100
central jersey
I am on year 3 with my freedom insert. That thing likes to run hot.
I have a 30' chimny that drafts like crazy.
most of the time I can controll the fire and keep the stove at 750 or below. A lot depends on wood, outside temp, wind speed, or split size. The air intakes are located at the bottom front under the air control. For better controll I put metal tape over half(top and bottom) of the air intakes. I leave that on there permanently. Since I've done that I have way more control over the fire. I added a couple of hours to my average burn.
 

trguitar

Burning Hunk
Dec 2, 2011
224
Harvard, MA
Are you really packing it tight, so there is as little open space as possible? It can be a pain to load because of the sides. Here's how I load:

I usually load N/S. I put the biggest piece I have (6" - 8") right in the middle, since the air likes to really chew away the wood there. The sides are kind of a pain in the Freedom because they are a little shorter, so I use shorter lengths there so that I can still pack it tight. I pack the thing as tight as possible, even putting in skinny pieces to fill in all the gaps. I load around 10:00 pm, and when I get up at 6:00 there are still a lot of coals in the back of the stove, and stove top is around 250. I rake the coals to the front, and load it up again. It's back up to 700 - 750 within 10 - 15 minutes.

I hardly ever run with the air pulled all the way out. Maybe 1/4" from all the way out when the stove is good and hot. It might be a good idea to do some practice runs during the daytime, if you haven't already done so, so you can see what's going on. This helped me figure some things out.
 

shadowrider

New Member
Nov 30, 2015
9
Mapleton,UT
I am on year 3 with my freedom insert. That thing likes to run hot.
I have a 30' chimny that drafts like crazy.
most of the time I can controll the fire and keep the stove at 750 or below. A lot depends on wood, outside temp, wind speed, or split size. The air intakes are located at the bottom front under the air control. For better controll I put metal tape over half(top and bottom) of the air intakes. I leave that on there permanently. Since I've done that I have way more control over the fire. I added a couple of hours to my average burn.
Thanks
 

shadowrider

New Member
Nov 30, 2015
9
Mapleton,UT
Are you really packing it tight, so there is as little open space as possible? It can be a pain to load because of the sides. Here's how I load:

I usually load N/S. I put the biggest piece I have (6" - 8") right in the middle, since the air likes to really chew away the wood there. The sides are kind of a pain in the Freedom because they are a little shorter, so I use shorter lengths there so that I can still pack it tight. I pack the thing as tight as possible, even putting in skinny pieces to fill in all the gaps. I load around 10:00 pm, and when I get up at 6:00 there are still a lot of coals in the back of the stove, and stove top is around 250. I rake the coals to the front, and load it up again. It's back up to 700 - 750 within 10 - 15 minutes.

I hardly ever run with the air pulled all the way out. Maybe 1/4" from all the way out when the stove is good and hot. It might be a good idea to do some practice runs during the daytime, if you haven't already done so, so you can see what's going on. This helped me figure some things out.
Yes, packing it tight. Thanks for your suggestions. I think to various reason my drafts a lot more.
 

shadowrider

New Member
Nov 30, 2015
9
Mapleton,UT
UPDATE! Took off my blower and got into the air control. There are two screws, one on each side that stops the air control from closing down more. I removed these two stop screws and the stove can close down more now. Listening to how much it drafts with the screws out it now sounds like what I am used to. Tried it last night. Stocked the fireplace with wood, but didn't even load it that full. Let it burn for 10 min on high, stove was hot, backed it down to almost fully closed. Fan set to low. House was 74 main level and 73 upstairs. 10:45pm left it. 7am got up and house was 70 degrees upstairs and 70 main level. Outside air temp was 15f. Fan was running low, fireplace was about still warm and lots of red coals. Threw some wood on and fire was going in 2-3 min, fireplace was hot in 15min. YEA! Getting the burn times I was expecting. Stove defiantly runs hot and does a great job at burning wood completely. I have yet to have to clean out ash, seems to burn it all out. I have run about 1/4 to half cord through it so far. Love it!
 
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KBCraig

New Member
Feb 26, 2015
5
Lancaster NH
Thanks for that update.

I'm on Day 4 with my Lopi Freedom, and I'm still figuring it out. Other than overnight, I have decided to mostly leave the primary intake alone. It's hard to reach, stiff to move, and doesn't seem to affect the fire over a very large range. The blower speed seems to make more of a difference in how much heat is put into the room than the draft setting does.

I grew up with an Ashley-style heater (King brand), which was a completely different animal. Loading it and adjusting the draft were dirt simple compared to the game of firewood Tetris required with this insert. And of course, the heater had no secondary burn.
 

MNTIM

New Member
Oct 7, 2018
41
Minnesota
Awesome post! I run a freedom upstairs 13ft flu- runs hot and an average draft but I absolute love it and on Sunday I’m installing another one in In the basement firebox which will have a 23ft flu and I plan on doing the same thing if I need to. I may pop the screws out before I install
 

velvetfoot

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2005
9,973
Sand Lake, NY
Excellent.
I also like the way it turned out.
The ZC clearances don't have such a great shaped firebox usually, do they?
The air control on my insert is inaccessible. I did manage to control the overdraft, but it's not as elegant as yours,
 

MNTIM

New Member
Oct 7, 2018
41
Minnesota
Excellent.
I also like the way it turned out.
The ZC clearances don't have such a great shaped firebox usually, do they?
The air control on my insert is inaccessible. I did manage to control the overdraft, but it's not as elegant as yours,
How did you control or get your draft in check ?
 

velvetfoot

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2005
9,973
Sand Lake, NY
How did you control or get your draft in check ?
I wound up aluminum taping all the intake slots on the base except one, (it doesn't get too hot there), and put a magnet wrapped in sheet metal that I slide on the last remaining open hole to keep the stove top around 700. Are there other air openings, I don't know, but I think I'm controlling most of the air. This is total air intake, secondary and primary. As I said, not as elegant, and totally bogus that I feel the need to do this, but my stove's air control is encased in a welded box and it was a blazing inferno before.
 

MNTIM

New Member
Oct 7, 2018
41
Minnesota
I wound up aluminum taping all the intake slots on the base except one, (it doesn't get too hot there), and put a magnet wrapped in sheet metal that I slide on the last remaining open hole to keep the stove top around 700. Are there other air openings, I don't know, but I think I'm controlling most of the air. This is total air intake, secondary and primary. As I said, not as elegant, and totally bogus that I feel the need to do this, but my stove's air control is encased in a welded box and it was a blazing inferno before.
On my freedom upstairs it always is in the 650-850 range but I can slam the air and get it under control. Usually 5% open when hot is how I leave it and it completely burns the whole load to ash and I’m happy. But with my second freedom in a 25ft flu I will be making these adjustments prior to install because I already know I have an incredible draft- probably an over draft. So I will give myself the option before I install for shut the air down further if needed or simply
For efficiency. But to
Me I never slumber my load- it’s not worth the risk of buildup in the chimney.