Need Help! I am stuck in smokes!

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woodburnburn

New Member
Oct 30, 2016
7
New York, NY
Hi,

I am new to wood stoves, so I am reaching out to the experts for help.

I recently purchased Woodstock Soapstone Absolute Steel stove. Unfortunately the stove / setup is not working well and I do not know what the issue is...

The issue:
When I try to burn paper in the stove, it burns well and there seems to be a draft when the door is open. When I close the door, it burns for a little, flame dies and the whole thing goes up in smoke. In fact, the smoke is coming our from the air intake vent too, which is very strange. It just seems that the stove is not getting enough air, even though the air intake is open at 4 setting. I also keep the catalytic converter up, just as you see in the pictures. My pictures show the setup as tested.

My setup:
  1. Chimney - outside, 8” diameter, clay flue liner. Total height somewhere around 10-11 feet.
  2. I checked the chimney draft without the black pipe. it burns and sucks air so well, it’s whistling.
  3. One small issue is that chimney flue is about 2.5” lower than the stove exit pipe. I mitigated that with a single elbow and then straight black pipe going towards the chimney.
I am really lost right now, as it seems that the stove is not breathing well. My worry is that it actually backfires with smoke coming out of air intake, which should never happen…?
The only option I could think off right now is to drill 2” holes into concrete hearth and to drop the stove 2”. If I do that, the ash pan heat shield will be almost touching the concrete.
Please let me know if you have any ideas? What I am doing wrong? What should help? Is the stove working well; how can I make sure of that?

Thank you very much!
K.
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kennyp2339

Minister of Fire
Feb 16, 2014
4,900
07462
There's quite a bit of work needed to get your setup working right, 1st thing is the chimney is looking a little to short, I would recommend un-installing the stove, block off the old outlet hole, drill a new one at the proper height, installing a stainless steel 6" liner, adding a anchor plate to the top of the chimney and installing a minimum 3ft section of class a pipe.
FYI - it is highly recommended that you don't operate the stove as is, the black pipe elbow is a big no no (they will fall apart)
It might be cheaper to buy a through the ceiling chimney kit and installing black pipe from the stove straight up to the ceiling support box then installing a couple lengths of class as pipe with a roof support bracket.
 

jatoxico

Minister of Fire
Aug 8, 2011
4,218
Long Island NY
Have to agree there are a number of problems contributing to poor draft. Right off the bat the flue vent is higher than the thimble.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
21,478
central pa
yeah short oversized flue with the crock lower than the stove outlet. Any one of those things could cause your problems but with all three there is no way it will work right.
 

woodburnburn

New Member
Oct 30, 2016
7
New York, NY
Thank you. I was dreading that it will be a difficult solution... What if I try to lower the stove by 2" by drilling 3" holes where the legs are hearth? The ash pan protection will be almost touching the hearth, but I can add an extra metal plate to mitigate the heat. Here is the picture of how it looks right now. After it is lowered, I can install straight black pipe into the chimney, it may have a 0.5" downwards slant, but if the chimney is working well, it should catch a good draft?

I could put the liner in and also extend the chimney by 3-5 feet?

What do you think?

IMG_6602.JPG
 
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EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
Jul 12, 2006
7,328
Schenectady, NY
The hearth doesn't look safe either. I think you're looking at major surgery on the house to get this running right.
 

edyit

Minister of Fire
Nov 30, 2014
832
Wilmington NY
you don't want any down hill slant at all. i know it's not what you want to hear but a new 6" chimney straight up or plug the old hole, drop in a 6" liner and an extension on top of it to bring you to the manufacturers 15' requirement are the best options if you want this to run right.
 

rijim

Burning Hunk
Jan 19, 2009
225
RI
No quick or easy fix from what I can see. Ultimately, you may want to take that chimney down and replace with class A pipe and get maybe 16’ - 17’ above the fire box of the stove. Raise that thimble up so there a slight upward pitch coming from the stove into a thimble. The picture makes it tough to tell but is there enough hearth to prevent a stray ember from hitting the wood floor while cleaning or reloading? I wouldn’t try to lower the stove if it won’t result in a slight upward pitch of that section of pipe.
Jim
 

EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
Jul 12, 2006
7,328
Schenectady, NY
How far in front of the loading door does the hearth stick out?


The cost of getting the old chimney to work right is probably more than a straight up new chimney. You'd need a flat roof kit and a couple sections of class a pipe. The length needed would depend on ceiling thickness. Maybe $500 in materials. I'm pretty sure your hearth would need to be extended, but that looks like straight concrete and mortar work.
 

EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
Jul 12, 2006
7,328
Schenectady, NY
Why is the hearth not safe? All details would help.

Absolute_Steel_Hybrid_Dimensions-Specifications.png
You're going to want the hearth 6" out in front of the stove and out 16" in front of the door.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,679
South Puget Sound, WA
Smoke does not go downhill. That issues combined with a too short cold chimney that is also a bit too large in inner area is teaming up to make for a very balky stove.
In the least the thimble will have to be located higher or the stove lower by what looks like at least 3". One possible option might be to lower the hearth and resurface.
 

Rearscreen

Minister of Fire
Dec 21, 2014
649
Vermont
The good news is that the cause of the problems are obvious and with effort, fixable. it's not like you have an issue but everything was done correctly.
 
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woodburnburn

New Member
Oct 30, 2016
7
New York, NY
Thank you for all the help and advice!

I like to get the old things working properly again, so I would favor using the existing chimney instead of adding a new straight up new chimney pipe.

What do you think about me trying out the following options in sequence:

OPTION 1:

OPTION 2:
  • Drill the concrete hearth where the stove's legs are and lower the stove 2.5". Straight black pipe should then go from the stove into the chimney (there may be a very tiny decline, 0.5"-1")
  • Install the chimney liner I bought together with the stove (I was thinking about returning it) - http://store.woodstove.com/product.php?productid=16556&cat=300&page=1, and 3'-4' Class A pipe between the steel cap and top plate. Will it be sturdy enough in the wind? Do you have any recommendation on which exact part to buy? I tried looking at Class A pipes and could not differentiate between them online...

OPTION 3:

  • Install the chimney liner I bought together with the stove (I was thinking about returning it) - http://store.woodstove.com/product.php?productid=16556&cat=300&page=1, and 3'-4' Class A pipe between the steel cap and top plate. Will it be sturdy enough in the wind? Do you have any recommendation on which exact part to buy? I tried looking at Class A pipes and could not differentiate between them online...
And one of these choices, whichever is easier and less expensive:
  • Demo a larger portion of the hearth and try to lower it 3"-5". It seems that we will have to go deeper into the floor and wooden foundation structure. I am concerned about that.
OR
  • Plug the old thimble and drill a new thimble into the chimney about 5" above the old thimble. I am dreading this work as I cannot imagine the process drilling through the stone, etc. Also, drilling the top portion of the existing thimble hole, creating upwards slant and filling up the bottom portion of the hole could be an option?

What are your thoughts on me trying these options in sequence... or am I crazy and just waisting time?
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
21,478
central pa
Raise the crock and install the liner with insulation. It may work from there. If not then you can think about extending the height. But it is not going to work with the crock lower that the outlet. And really raising the crock is not that big of a deal I would not drill it I would remove a few stones till you get to the block core then it is easy to go through with a demo hammer. Then you patch the old hole with the stone you removed.
 

EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
Jul 12, 2006
7,328
Schenectady, NY
3 feet of horizontal run is tough on draft. It can, and has been done, but is a very frustrating experience.
 

edyit

Minister of Fire
Nov 30, 2014
832
Wilmington NY
(there may be a very tiny decline, 0.5"-1")
you don't want any decline at all, I second bholler with relocate the crock and add a liner to what you have then try it. if draft is still bad they make extensions you can add to a liner.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,679
South Puget Sound, WA
Agreed but if adding to the chimney I would do it in stone. Class A on top of that chimney would be out of character with the cabin.
 

woodburnburn

New Member
Oct 30, 2016
7
New York, NY
How hard is it to convert the AS to top vent, not had my eye on one yet? I would make the thimble up higher with a 45 or two into a thimble out to insulated liner and add a couple feet to the top of class a.
It can be both top and rear venting. What do you mean by "a 45 or two"? Thank you!
 

woodburnburn

New Member
Oct 30, 2016
7
New York, NY
Thank you all for help. I purchased the following liner kit - http://store.woodstove.com/product.php?productid=16556&cat=300&page=1
1. What type of insulation should I use? Where could I buy it?
2. Do I need to insulate just the flexible liner or everything, including tee and black pipe that's inside the chimney structure?
3. For the class A pipe extension, can I just add it between steel cap and top plate in the kit I already have? Where/what part would you get?
4. If class A pipe 3' extension is added, will it get too wobbly in the wind? Should there be some kind of strengthening structure?

Thanks!
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
4,999
NE Ohio
I think I'd rework (lower) the hearth way before even considering trying to raise the breech (flue) considering that the chimney is over 3' thick! (that is what I'm seeing in the above pic, correct?)
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,679
South Puget Sound, WA
Need a full view of the hearth to see what would be involved.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
21,478
central pa
I think I'd rework (lower) the hearth way before even considering trying to raise the breech (flue) considering that the chimney is over 3' thick! (that is what I'm seeing in the above pic, correct?)
Lowering the whole hearth is way more work without a doubt
 
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