New stove worked great for 2 days, now smoking horribly

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colin.p

Burning Hunk
Feb 26, 2011
219
Ottawa Canada
My take on it is this. With the current setup, it is unusable. If it takes a lot of screwing around just to get a fire going without asphyxiating you, then you have to get creative. The smoke isn't going where it's supposed to and anything that maybe slowing down the draft, has got to go. Try taking out the blanket and see if that is the tipping point. With your setup, I wouldn't be concerned about "secondaries" as you don't even have "primaries" yet. I have used, in the far distant past, wood stoves ($99 Taiwanese Parlour stoves that the flames would come out the seams) in trailers with 10 foot of pipe and didn't have near the issues you're having. However, I'm quite sure the problem can be resolved.
 
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kennyp2339

Minister of Fire
Feb 16, 2014
6,102
07462
You could also be fighting a marine layer inversion, less dense warm air from the dessert is acting like a cap with colder moist air at the bottom along the coast..do you have sea fog in the morning? That's pretty much a dead give away, and if that's the case there's not much any setup can do, even by changing your stove to an easy breathing unit and adding 5ft to the chimney.
 
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bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,096
central pa
Maybe, but since I live below the poverty line, I feel I need to pursue all possible solutions before shelling out the money for another stove. I only use it a couple of months out of the year--it doesn't have to be state of the art, just serviceable and safe.
I completly understand that and not trying to be insulting towards you in any way. I just have grown to really dislike these stove through the years. I cant beleive they are still on the market.
 

jetsam

Minister of Fire
Dec 12, 2015
5,283
Long Island, NY
youtu.be
You can see if more flue would help for cheap- get a section of same-size rigid metal ductwork and slap it on top for a burn. If it helps, you should shell out for some proper flue pipe and supports.

I would try a longer flue and a good preheating first, myself. Your good two days of burning may just have been weather-related.

As a side note, avoid burning anything that's ever been in the ocean; the salt will eat your stove.
 

jatoxico

Minister of Fire
Aug 8, 2011
4,352
Long Island NY
The first two times I used the stove, I made sure to build smaller fires to cure the paint. There was a faint paint smell, and the fires lit well and kept going. When I first started the fire, I left the door cracked about an inch and also left the side door to my house open for air.

Agree with the too short chimney but this comment caught my attention. Wondering if you have some pressure problem. I have an issue that means I have to warm my flue with newspaper sometimes before I can fire up. I would try seeing if you can get the stove to draft with small amounts of paper only (to rule out lousy wood) and see if opening a door or window helps at all. Good Luck
 

fire_man

Minister of Fire
Feb 6, 2009
2,534
North Eastern MA
I would try a longer flue

I agree - a longer flue would be the first thing I'd try. The triple wall duravent is probably not cheap - does that stuff match up to plain old single wall for a quick and dirty test?
 

OscarsMom

New Member
Dec 10, 2016
32
Ensenada, Mexico
My take on it is this. With the current setup, it is unusable. If it takes a lot of screwing around just to get a fire going without asphyxiating you, then you have to get creative. The smoke isn't going where it's supposed to and anything that maybe slowing down the draft, has got to go. Try taking out the blanket and see if that is the tipping point. With your setup, I wouldn't be concerned about "secondaries" as you don't even have "primaries" yet. I have used, in the far distant past, wood stoves ($99 Taiwanese Parlour stoves that he flames would come out the seams) in trailers with 10 foot of pipe and didn't have near the issues you're having. However, I'm quite sure the problem can be resolved.
My take on it is this. With the current setup, it is unusable. If it takes a lot of screwing around just to get a fire going without asphyxiating you, then you have to get creative. The smoke isn't going where it's supposed to and anything that maybe slowing down the draft, has got to go. Try taking out the blanket and see if that is the tipping point. With your setup, I wouldn't be concerned about "secondaries" as you don't even have "primaries" yet. I have used, in the far distant past, wood stoves ($99 Taiwanese Parlour stoves that he flames would come out the seams) in trailers with 10 foot of pipe and didn't have near the issues you're having. However, I'm quite sure the problem can be resolved.

I agree, creativity will be needed if I'm going to keep this stove. And you're right too about not worrying about secondaries when primaries haven't even been satisfactory. Going to take out the blanket and create a smoke guard (probably temporary at first to make sure it works). It makes sense when you see how close the baffle is to the opening in both dimensions. Once I looked at it again yesterday, I realized there's no way the smoke wouldn't escape out the opening instead of going above the baffle when the door is open, especially if I have a cold chimney and/or draft issues.

I'll put a few more bucks into trying to fix this stove (labor and sheet metal is cheap) before giving up and going up in price for another one. It's not just the money--it's arduous getting a stove down here from the States.

Thanks for helping me stay positive.
 

OscarsMom

New Member
Dec 10, 2016
32
Ensenada, Mexico
You could also be fighting a marine layer inversion, less dense warm air from the dessert is acting like a cap with colder moist air at the bottom along the coast..do you have sea fog in the morning? That's pretty much a dead give away, and if that's the case there's not much any setup can do, even by changing your stove to an easy breathing unit and adding 5ft to the chimney.

I read about the marine layer inversion too, and it is possible. However, my neighbors about a half block down have a similar set up with about the same chimney height (better stove though), and they don't have any smoking issues. We do occasionally get morning fog, but it's more likely in the afternoon in our location (rare), and I haven't had any fog since the stove was installed. I'm trusting that since my neighbor's stove works okay, that's not the issue. Good thing to consider, though, thanks.
 

OscarsMom

New Member
Dec 10, 2016
32
Ensenada, Mexico
I completly understand that and not trying to be insulting towards you in any way. I just have grown to really dislike these stove through the years. I cant beleive they are still on the market.

No worries, no offense taken. I know there are a lot of folks with real high-end stoves here, but I just can't afford one now. It was a bite out of my budget just to put this one in, between all the chimney components, thermal shield, and paying someone with a larger vehicle to travel with me to the States to pick everything up.

I actually think the older non-EPA compliant versions of this design work way better, if you're not looking for great secondary combustion like what would be desirable in northern climes. But modern stove systems found in other units don't seem to adapt to the long thin shape of this old-fashioned stove at this price point. I think if I could do away with the baffle entirely and sacrifice some heat up the flue, which I can being in a warmer climate, the stove would draw fine and give me enough heat on a chilly night. It would run like the old stove I have in my yard, which is the same shape and draws great with 5 feet of chimney. It might be worth just taking the baffle out, rather than just the blanket above it.

What I find amazing is there are lots of 5-star reviews of this stove. Someone is making it work somehow; I wonder if they messed with it or just got lucky.
 

OscarsMom

New Member
Dec 10, 2016
32
Ensenada, Mexico
I agree - a longer flue would be the first thing I'd try. The triple wall duravent is probably not cheap - does that stuff match up to plain old single wall for a quick and dirty test?

Yeah, the triple-wall stuff IS really spendy, and I don't know how I'd put cheap single wall with it. I used the Duravent stuff for safety and because it all snaps together pretty easily, so it was easy for my contractor to put together. There aren't a lot of chimney specialist here, if any, so I had to make it foolproof for my GC.
 

OscarsMom

New Member
Dec 10, 2016
32
Ensenada, Mexico
Agree with the too short chimney but this comment caught my attention. Wondering if you have some pressure problem. I have an issue that means I have to warm my flue with newspaper sometimes before I can fire up. I would try seeing if you can get the stove to draft with small amounts of paper only (to rule out lousy wood) and see if opening a door or window helps at all. Good Luck

Thanks, I did try warming the flue with newspaper held in the back, but it just smoked out the door, and I had to drop it in the ash and shut the door. That's why I was thinking of using my butane torch--nothing to smoke while I heat the flue. But first, I gotta deal with removing the ceramic blanket. That's not helping me. The guy I mentioned in a comment above who had a Youtube video showing his DIY smoke guard also removed his blanket, as did several other reviewers of the stove, for better performance.
 

OscarsMom

New Member
Dec 10, 2016
32
Ensenada, Mexico
You can see if more flue would help for cheap- get a section of same-size rigid metal ductwork and slap it on top for a burn. If it helps, you should shell out for some proper flue pipe and supports.

I would try a longer flue and a good preheating first, myself. Your good two days of burning may just have been weather-related.

As a side note, avoid burning anything that's ever been in the ocean; the salt will eat your stove.

Thanks, it's definitely a thought, although my neighbors have the same weather and ridge behind them that I do, as well as similar chimney height, and their stove draws just fine. I think they get theirs good and hot right away because they use lighter fluid on their kindling (not wise, and I've told them so, but they insist it's fine--I told them it may be fine 1,000 times and on the 1,001st they could blow up their house). Also, they have a better stove.

I don't really think the chimney height is the issue. And I don't think I can add more height anyway. It would blow into the homes of the ridge above me, and being on the ocean, when we have a storm, it would be wind risk.

The good preheating is a great idea and gonna try it with my butane torch.
 

jatoxico

Minister of Fire
Aug 8, 2011
4,352
Long Island NY
Thanks, I did try warming the flue with newspaper held in the back, but it just smoked out the door, and I had to drop it in the ash and shut the door. That's why I was thinking of using my butane torch--nothing to smoke while I heat the flue. But first, I gotta deal with removing the ceramic blanket. That's not helping me. The guy I mentioned in a comment above who had a Youtube video showing his DIY smoke guard also removed his blanket, as did several other reviewers of the stove, for better performance.
Well what I was saying was to open a door or window in the room with the stove. at the same time to equalize the pressure in the event of negative pressure situation. May not be the case but from you said it worked with the side door open.
 

Rickb

Minister of Fire
Oct 24, 2012
1,165
St.Louis
Is it too late to return that stove? There are many good cheap stoves out there.
 

jetsam

Minister of Fire
Dec 12, 2015
5,283
Long Island, NY
youtu.be
Well what I was saying was to open a door or window in the room with the stove. at the same time to equalize the pressure in the event of negative pressure situation. May not be the case but from you said it worked with the side door open.

That's a good thought if the house is tight (or if the house is very loose and a prevailing wind moves through it). Either way, opening the windows in the stove room should show if that's an issue.
 

OscarsMom

New Member
Dec 10, 2016
32
Ensenada, Mexico
Is it too late to return that stove? There are many good cheap stoves out there.

I think they will only take it back if there is a defect with it, which of course, they deny, blaming everything under the sun for its smoky performance.

Also, it would be quite an effort for me to get back over the border to the States. I'm going to try a few of the aforementioned fixes, and if it still doesn't work, turn it into a yard stove or sell it to someone to use as such. You could even take the entire top off and use it as a fire pit or barbecue with some reinforcement, the makeshift varieties of which are popular here.

If you have any recommendations for good cheap stoves, I'm happy to hear them. My house is only 500 sq ft-ish, so don't need a big one. I've even looked at cubic boat stoves, but they're more expensive than you might imagine. If I do need a replacement, something that's less deep would be better for my living space, like the little Englanders.
 

OscarsMom

New Member
Dec 10, 2016
32
Ensenada, Mexico
Well what I was saying was to open a door or window in the room with the stove. at the same time to equalize the pressure in the event of negative pressure situation. May not be the case but from you said it worked with the side door open.

Unfortunately, I tried running the stove with every combination of doors and windows open to no avail. My house is a poorly sealed old beach house, so I don't think it's a negative pressure situation. Thanks for the suggestion, though.
 
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OscarsMom

New Member
Dec 10, 2016
32
Ensenada, Mexico
That's a good thought if the house is tight (or if the house is very loose and a prevailing wind moves through it). Either way, opening the windows in the stove room should show if that's an issue.

The house IS very loose and prevailing winds could move through it (definitely not tight, and no fans or anything else to create a negative pressure situation).

I've tried it with both doors open, one door open, doors shut, windows open, doors and windows open... no difference.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,531
South Puget Sound, WA
It's pretty unlikely after just a few fires but check the cap screen to make sure it isn't plugging up with fly ash.
 

OscarsMom

New Member
Dec 10, 2016
32
Ensenada, Mexico
It's pretty unlikely after just a few fires but check the cap screen to make sure it isn't plugging up with fly ash.

I looked at it this afternoon, just in case, but it's clear.

I am concerned, though, that because the five or six fires I've had so far have all be cool burns with tons of smoke, the chimney will need cleaning really fast. Should I be concerned about having enough creosote to cause a chimney fire? If I figure out my stove issues and can burn hot from here out, will that help burn off any creosote from these first few slow burns? Should I use a creosote additive on my log?

Again, thanks for all the support and suggestions here. This forum is great, especially for people like me who can't just get in the car and go to a fireplace specialist.
 

jetsam

Minister of Fire
Dec 12, 2015
5,283
Long Island, NY
youtu.be
Here's a simple thing- is the flue blocked? It's only been installed a short time, but that doesn't preclude a big dead bird, or somebody dropped a work glove down there and it's slipped down to block an elbow?

Look through it if you can, run a brush through it if not. (Get the brush if you don't have it; you need it anyway.)

The best way to understand how much creosote a type of burning is going to cause in your particular situation is to burn it for a couple days, get up top, and look. The worst creosote should be right near the top of the pipe, since it's coolest there. I'd check it every couple days until you feel comfortable that you don't need to check it so often. (I'm not sure it's possible to plug a 6" flue in a couple days, but you could plug a mesh chimney cap in that time.)
 
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OscarsMom

New Member
Dec 10, 2016
32
Ensenada, Mexico
Here's a simple thing- is the flue blocked? It's only been installed a short time, but that doesn't preclude a big dead bird, or somebody dropped a work glove down there and it's slipped down to block an elbow?

Look through it if you can, run a brush through it if not. (Get the brush if you don't have it; you need it anyway.)

I don't think it could be a bird because the chimney has a cap with a screen on it. It would have to be, like, hummingbird size to fit in the grate openings. I don't think any of the work guys wore gloves. Also, I have no elbows. Everything runs straight up from the stove.

Getting the brush is a good idea for future use.

This may seem like a dumb question, but how do I clean the flue? The way my stove is constructed, there's no way up the back of the stove to the flue because the baffle's in the way. The passage from the front of the stove along the baffle to the back/flue is very short in height, and it's already clogged with the ceramic blanket (which I plan to remove, and that could be partially blocking the flue). Do I have to unscrew the pipe where it attaches to the stovetop adapter and lift it up? It's doable, since the pipe is telescoping, but I can't think of any other way to do it.

ETA: my baffle is not removable/doesn't slide out; it's attached to the main top plate. I'm trying to figure out if it's screwed in as part of the stove assembly or welded in place. I think it's a separate piece, but you have to take the stove apart to remove it.

I think if I can get rid of the baffle entirely without compromising the structural integrity of the stove, I might do it. I don't need the kind of heat from my stove that people up north do, so it's okay if some of the heat goes up the chimney. I'm pretty convinced that the baffle design in relation to the door opening and top of the stove is my main problem and that the ceramic blanket is contributing and making the situation worse as it becomes more choked with smoke and therefore less able to pass smoke through it (catch 22).
 
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jetsam

Minister of Fire
Dec 12, 2015
5,283
Long Island, NY
youtu.be
I'm pretty convinced that the baffle design in relation to the door opening and top of the stove is my main problem and that the ceramic blanket is contributing and making the situation worse as it becomes more choked with smoke and therefore less able to pass smoke through it (catch 22).

I found this review on Amazon.

Image-803096358.jpg



Edit: Found a bunch more reviews. It sounds like owners of that stove fall into two categories:. 1) They use it outside and think it's great. 2) They tried to use it inside and got smoked out.

There appear to be several strategies for modifying the stove for indoor use.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B019XJ7E7K/?tag=hearthamazon-20

That one guy says he's quite happy with it now that he's taken the ceramic blanket out and modified the door so it can't be closed all the way. o_O.

This is another one of those threads where I have a dozen wrong ideas and then post 'oh yeah bholler called it a couple pages ago' =)
 
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OscarsMom

New Member
Dec 10, 2016
32
Ensenada, Mexico
I found this review on Amazon.

View attachment 190044



Edit: Found a bunch more reviews. It sounds like owners of that stove fall into two categories:. 1) They use it outside and think it's great. 2) They tried to use it inside and got smoked out.

There appear to be several strategies for modifying the stove for indoor use.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B019XJ7E7K/?tag=hearthamazon-20

That one guy says he's quite happy with it now that he's taken the ceramic blanket out and modified the door so it can't be closed all the way. o_O.

This is another one of those threads where I have a dozen wrong ideas and then post 'oh yeah bholler called it a couple pages ago' =)


Yep, saw that one about removing the blanket and and the other about installing the smoke guard (and also removing the blanket). I assume the first one meant they removed the baffle ("the thin metal plate"). Removing the baffle would remove the need for a DIY smoke guard (this was a bit of a clever MacGyver--a piece of sheet metal on a hinge to make loading easier but to keep the smoke from spilling out the door when the hinge was down). I think tomorrow morning my guy's gonna get a call about taking the top off and removing the blanket and baffle. If that Amazon reviewer got it off, it must not be welded on. Then we'll give it a try again with a warm chimney and dry wood. When we take the top off, we can check the flue. Fingers crossed, and I'll post back when it's done. It'll probably take a few days to get workers out here.

Thanks for taking the time to post the reviews and to offer your suggestions. I appreciate your time and support. :)
 

OhioBurner©

Minister of Fire
Aug 20, 2010
1,535
Center of Ohio
There are homes so close right above you that adding a few feet of chimney height would blow in their windows? This could cause some airflow issues, not just the short vent but in the airflow in the area. Wow this seems like a tough situation you're in, wish I could help more but I got about nothing. Maybe those stove mods may help. I've heard some folks that need help establishing a draft use a hair dryer to heat up the flue, not sure if that would help or if you have one. Good luck, hope you figure it out.
 
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