New home owner...lost in the sauce

Unobtanium Posted By Unobtanium, Oct 5, 2017 at 11:09 PM

  1. Unobtanium

    Unobtanium
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    Oct 5, 2017
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    Hey, all. I just bought a home, and as best I can tell, it has a Sequoia EWF36A fireplace with accessory fan mounted. This matches all pictures I can find online. I don't know much about a fireplace in general, or at all really, so no advice is "too simple" to give me. I have questions, but feel free to also tell me more than I'm asking, as "I don't know what I don't know".

    #1, The thermometer on top hiding behind the grate never seemed to move.
    #2, I found a rack that you stack logs on outside, brought it inside, and put it in the fireplace, but all the photos I see show NO rack in the fireplace, wood goes in it "on its floor"/the "grates" in it, sets right in it. Which is correct? Logs on the rack, or logs "on the floor"?
    #3, it takes FOREVER for the fan to kick on (as in, logs are 90% gone), and I think this is maybe because I ran it with the grate, which keeps the wood "off the floor" and as best I can see the floor is where the temp sensor for the fans lives, on the underside of the "box".
    #4, I have a lever on the left that I turn left/right (it pivots), and I have a lever on the right that I can pull in and out. When should I do either, with each/what combo. and when t he fire is out and I am "done" with the fireplace for the day/night, what position should I leave them in, say, when I go out of town or something (fire extinguished and gone, "storage" mode, basically)?
    #5, this fireplace says it heats a 2500sf house, and mine is 1600sf and seems well insulated. It only dropped interior temp from 68* to 71* over the course of the "complete fire" with outside temps in the high 50's...what am I doing wrong, or is the 2500sf thing a wink and a nod that's nowhere near accurate?
    #6, the glass is sooted up, and regular non-abrasive glass cleaner didn't do much. I suspect this glass is tempered, and any abrasive could create a microscopic focal point for stress, so I am loath to use anything remotely abrasive. What should I use to clean it?

    Any and all other advice is appreciated, such as maintenance, inspections of commonly worn components, etc.

    Thank-you all!

    ETA: I stacked 3 logs in it, on the grate (elevated metal deal that I found outside the house and brought inside. it fit?) both times I used it. Each log was about 6" in diameter. I used a tiny piece of starter log to get it going, although starter logs are bad? How bad? Are they really?
     
  2. begreen

    begreen
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  3. Unobtanium

    Unobtanium
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    Oct 5, 2017
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  4. begreen

    begreen
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    You'll need more than 3 logs to warm up the place. Follow the directions for running the fireplace and expect to use at least 5-6 logs. The sooting up of the glass may be due to mis-operation or it could be due to the wood being poorly seasoned. Damp wood puts out a lot less heat. Modern stoves and fireplaces need fully seasoned wood to perform optimally.

    The glass is actually a clear ceramic. You are correct, don't use an abrasive on it. With dry wood and a proper fire the soot might just burn off. You can clean the glass with a stove glass cleaner or just dip a damp paper towel in the wood ash and use that to clean off the soot. Then wipe with a clean damp towel and dry.
     
  5. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone
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    If 5-6 logs of the wood you have don't make a large change from what you're experiencing, try one of the packages of wood that you can get at the supermarket. They are often kiln dried.
     
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  6. Unobtanium

    Unobtanium
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    Awesome, will do those things! Thank-you!

    Also, there was a recall for my particular fireplace. I don't know if it was done or not, and the company is now out of business...it's been working fine for a decade though, should I be worried?
     
  7. begreen

    begreen
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    Don't know how to tell if the recall was done. Vermont Castings is still in business under new ownership. Give them a call.
    1 (877) 427-8368
     
  8. Unobtanium

    Unobtanium
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    21994445_938898659001_111479840768363386_o.jpg I have another question. Is it normal during heavy rain with wind to hear some water drilling down onto the stove body presumably from the chimney? My guess is maybe water splashed from the flat metal of the cap into the grated deal and some also came in sideways through the slits. Here is a photo of the house. I never saw any water, just heard drip.........drip on the metal during the heavy part of a rainstorm.
     
  9. xman23

    xman23
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    I'd say no, not normal to hear dripping water.
     
  10. begreen

    begreen
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    I have only had this happen once and that was with Metalbestos chimney. Took a while but the final solution was to run silicone up the seam of the length of the pipe passing through the storm collar.
     
  11. Unobtanium

    Unobtanium
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    Oct 5, 2017
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    Thanks , a chimneysweep has been hired.
     
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  12. Unobtanium

    Unobtanium
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    Oct 5, 2017
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    I purchased some ceramic "glass" cleaner for stove and hearth, non-abrasive, from the manufacturer "Rutland". It also contains silicon to "condition" the glass against build-up. I have not tried the aspect of the latter, but the cleaning aspect of the product is phenomenal! I strongly suspect the glass has never been cleaned before (9 year old house), and this made it clear as new after about 15 minutes of my time, and very little real work. Super impressed!
     
  13. Unobtanium

    Unobtanium
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    So far, I am really impressed with Vermont Castings. "Pat" is handling my case, and he has verified that my stove was indeed subject to recall, and asked me for pictures (which I sent him) to verify whether or not the recall had previously been done. He requested pictures "about 4" behind the door hinges" of the sides of the unit taken with the doors open, such as, if the stove were a mouth, the inside of the cheeks are what was to be photographed.

    He did not allude to what to, or not to, be noted, and I have not yet received information on Vermont Castings' resolution to my situation is. I presume that they intend to make it right, otherwise they would not have bothered with spending their and my time on taking photos, etc. to verify whether or not the work had already been done.

    Anyway, just an update so far, I am very pleased.

    To tack on another question...when it's very cold out, I note a faint cold draft coming in from the two vents under the stove. Is this simply due to a normal draft down the chimney, and cold air falling, or what? I have both levers in the "closed" position.
     
  14. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone
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    It could be the wind in just the right direction, a negative pressure caused by a fan running in the kitchen/bathroom, or even the atmosphere. All sorts of reasons. It should reverse when you light the stove. You may need to open a window a crack when lighting it if your house is tight. When your air is shut off completely, there is just a bit of play designed in so that a bit of air can still get to the fire.
     
  15. Unobtanium

    Unobtanium
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    Makes sense, and yes, when the fire is lit it goes the other way. In the lower vents, out the top (warm). House is extremely well insulated. You can't slam a door in it unless you crack a window, lol
     
  16. WoodyIsGoody

    WoodyIsGoody
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    Are there any seasons or weather conditions in which slamming a door becomes easier?
     
  17. Unobtanium

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    I've lived here for 2 weeks.
     
  18. WoodyIsGoody

    WoodyIsGoody
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    OK. Assuming these doors open inwards, it sounds like your new house might have the "chimney effect" that is causing the cold air to draft down your flue. If the air inside is warmer than outside it is lighter and wants to escape from the higher reaches of the structure. If there is an upstairs window open, leaky windows, bathroom fan vent that is not sealed, light fixtures sucking room air into the attic/roof soffits, etc. it can depressurize your house. I think you might want to investigate and find out why your house is depressurized. If you solve it, your stove draft will improve, fires will be easier to light and your house will be cleaner, less smokey/dusty through the winter.
     
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  19. Unobtanium

    Unobtanium
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    Thanks! I will begin the hunt! Any suggestions?
     
  20. WoodyIsGoody

    WoodyIsGoody
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    Look for
    Look for leaky windows, bathroom fan vent that is not sealed, light fixtures sucking room air into the attic/roof soffits, etc. Basically, anywhere the perimeter is perforated high on the structure.
     
  21. Unobtanium

    Unobtanium
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    Oct 5, 2017
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    Just an update.

    Pat has not yet gotten back with me, his last communication was to ask me to send my address via E-mail, so the engineers could see about "putting together a kit".

    I will call him in the morning, or Monday, to see what has occurred. He had me take pictures to the left and right just inside the fire-box. It looks like if some fire-brick were trimmed properly, there is room for 1 more on each side near the opening. I think this is the "fire hazard". If so, I'm not really especially worried.

    The Chimney Sweep inspected the cap, and the storm-collar looked good, but he drew another bead on top of the existing bead, anyways. He DID note, however, that the 4 screws which held the metal cap on at 4 covers were NOT sealed, and he drew a bead on top of each. The culprit, he feels, is a 1/8" hole where one of the screws was inserted through the cap, and then removed, as it was too near the center and was over "empty space", and then replaced to its corner. This hole was NOT sealed, and I am suspicious that this was the source of the dripping, as it is the right size and was in the right location to cause the symptoms I reported. I have not had enough of a rain since to truly verify this, however.

    I have not found any real "leaks" in my house that I think would cause the draft. My best estimation is that since my fireplace chimney is a triple-wall type system, air currents are rising/falling through it, circulating, and a slight differential is caused.

    They chimney showed virtually no build-up, and the Sweep did not clean it. He took and showed me a photo of it, and the only build-up was a slight discoloration, like a nicotine stain on someone's blinds who is a moderate smoker.
     
  22. Unobtanium

    Unobtanium
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    Oct 5, 2017
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    I have yet to have any further contact about the "insulation" issue.
    I have been using my stove now to good effect.
    I have solved the dripping water issue, last rain storm, nada.
    The cold air persists in flowing in through the bottom vents. I have searched for any vent intake both external to the chimney, and under the house near the fire box. I could find none. The cold air DOES NOT come out of the firebox itself, but rather from under it, leading me to believe that it's simply the cold air in the large column surrounding the chimney that is flowing in through said vents. A "nature of the beast" thing. If the house had a sealing issue, I would think air would be coming down the chimney. It is not.

    Over-all, I am enjoying the fireplace. I am debating installing a hearth under it. AS of now, I simply have a fire-proof rug.
     
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  23. ddddddden

    ddddddden
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    It sounds like the air movement you are noticing may be house air circulating around the stove’s convection jacket. It’s cool when it comes out because the stove is cool, because it sits in an exterior chimney, perhaps. Mmm. . .sauce.:p
     
  24. Unobtanium

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    That sounds sensible...I am ignorant though, what are the actionable ramifications of this? Is it something actionable, or is it just a fact?
     
  25. blades

    blades
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    Kiln dry - well not real kiln treated for bugs yes, but at 5-6 bucks for A .75 cubic ft of wood, better off buying a block of the compressed wood bricks ( no additives or wax types)
     

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